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Rowlands pilots restricting free medicine deliveries from today

Rowlands: A checklist based on various NHS guidance will determine which patients are housebound
Rowlands: A checklist based on various NHS guidance will determine which patients are housebound

Certain Rowlands pharmacies have begun trialling a reduced medicines delivery service available for housebound patients only, C+D has learned.

“Around 40” Rowlands pharmacies in the north west of England will “pilot a new approach” to determine which patients are still eligible for free deliveries, the multiple told C+D today (October 1).

Rowlands first announced in July that it would scrap its free medicines delivery service for all but “the most vulnerable” housebound patients.

The multiple told C+D it has since “developed a simple checklist” based on “various guidance used within the NHS in England” to determine which patients are entitled to free deliveries.

The checklist is “discussed with patients to determine if they are housebound and to ensure they understand the benefits of regular branch visits”, Rowlands explained.

“We are seeking to reduce the number of deliveries. [This] will be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Important service, but not funded

“This is an important service, but one which is not funded through the community pharmacy contract nor is it a service required through that contract,” Rowlands said.

“After an extensive review, we have decided to focus the free home delivery service on those who are more vulnerable and cannot therefore physically visit their local Rowlands pharmacy or rely on someone – such as a relative or carer – to pick up their medication on their behalf.”

“Regular in-branch visits – wherever possible – are an increasingly important part of the holistic service we provide to patients,” it stressed.

Rowlands’ decision to restrict its free deliveries followed Lloydspharmacy’s announcement last November that it would start charging new customers for deliveries, in an effort to “take the lead” on the sector’s attitude towards this service.

Following Rowlands’ statement, Well announced in August that only patients who met its “inclusion criteria” would now benefit from its free delivery service.

Is your pharmacy still offering free medicines deliveries to patients?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

It's interesting wording in the report to say that they are using NHSE information to determine who is "entitled" to a home delivery. I wasn't aware that ANYONE was "entitled" to free delivery (other than from an internet pharmacy)

C A, Community pharmacist

It could be argued to be a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010.

Another Pharmacist, Hospital pharmacist

My inderstanding is that an online pharmacy must offer a mechanism getting drugs into a patient's hands and absolutely no cost to the patient. As pts cant visit an online pharmacy, this means they post out for free. On this note, there's nothing stopping an online pharmacy charging for a "premium" delivery service; I guess that becuase the big players in the market all offer free delivery, and advertise the fact, it disincentivises others from offering a premium, paid for, delivery service.

But, with Rowlands, even if they dont deliver from their highstreet pharamcies, the patient can still get access to their drugs completely free by visiting the pharmacy in person hence there is no obligation to offer a delivery service at all if they didnt want to

Sam Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

It’s actually being closed from 12th October. If internet pharmacies could charge for deliveries as per NHS contract this would even the playing field


Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Bet they are offering free prescription deliveries through their online prescription service though

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