The service launched yesterday (January 18) and is expected to run initially until March 31 but will be looked at before this to see if it is still needed beyond April, Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) said in a statement yesterday.
There is no fixed fee for each delivery, which will be funded through a fixed pool of £5 million, according to a Scottish government circular published yesterday.
Pharmacies that decide to sign up to the service will receive a one-off payment of £1,460 for the cost of setting up and costs of “non-electronic prescriptions, NHS Pharmacy First Scotland services or for instalments”, which contractors cannot claim electronically.
Each delivery fee will be calculated considering the distance travelled by a qualified member of the pharmacy team or “a third-party provider”, according to the circular.
Pharmacy teams should proactively offer the delivery service for acute and repeat medications to vulnerable patients, such as those who are shielding or deemed to be at high risk. People self-isolating following a positive COVID-19 test or a request by Test and Protect are also eligible for the service, interim chief pharmaceutical officer Alison Strath said in the circular.
Reduce footfall to pharmacies
CPS said the service is expected to ensure vulnerable people avoid travelling to their pharmacy and “stay safe at home”, while also “reducing footfall into community pharmacies to help keep pharmacy teams safe”.
The government recognises that during the pandemic, contractors’ ability to increase capacity to carry out additional deliveries “has been limited due to costs for both infrastructure and workforce”, the circular says.
Commenting on the launch of the service, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said it will help “alleviate pressures on face-to-face dispensing in our fantastic network of community pharmacies”.
“Our funding will help to provide home deliveries of vital medicines for the most vulnerable people in our society, preventing their exposure to the virus and keeping them safe during this difficult period,” she added.