“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.