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Well limits free deliveries to patients who meet 'inclusion criteria'

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Well invested £10 million of funding in its delivery service last year
Well invested £10 million of funding in its delivery service last year

Only patients who meet “inclusion criteria” will now benefit from Well Pharmacy’s free medicines delivery service, the multiple has told C+D.

After an eight-week trial across 26 branches earlier this year, Well went live with its updated home delivery service across all 780 pharmacies on June 25, the multiple's home delivery general manager Rob Davidson told C+D yesterday (August 1).

As part of the changes, “new patients are only offered the home delivery service if they meet the inclusion criteria”, he said.

Well would not specify what “inclusion criteria” patients have to meet to qualify for the service, but “usually, these are patients who have requested a delivery under the terms of the Equality Act 2010”, Mr Davidson explained.

Under the Act, service providers – including pharmacies – are required to make “reasonable adjustments” to help patients with disabilities.

Other changes to the service include drivers now only collecting prescriptions from local surgeries once a day and scrapping second delivery attempts if the patient or representative is not at home, Mr Davidson said.

Well told C+D today (August 2) that there is currently not a paid-for version of the service and patients are encouraged to pick their medicines up from a pharmacy if they are able.

Free home deliveries are still available for all patients via Well Pharmacy’s app, which launched last month, Mr Davidson added.

No funding to support deliveries

Last week, Rowlands announced it will scrap its free delivery service for all but “the most vulnerable” housebound patients, stating that it could “no longer provide an expensive convenient service which the NHS is not willing to pay for”.

It 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 medicines deliveries.

Mr Davidson said Well's own change in delivery policy is a response to the “challenge” of having invested “almost £10 million in our home delivery service last year, with no funding in the pharmacy contract to support this”.

The changes to the service “allow us to operate an efficient, cost-effective home delivery service, while continuing to ensure our vulnerable and elderly customers receive the high level of care they deserve”, Mr Davidson said.

Well’s delivery service will be kept under “constant review” and may change again “based on future funding decisions”, he added.

Result

Has your pharmacy started charging patients for medicines deliveries?
Yes, we already charge some or all of our patients
23%
No, but we are considering it
45%
No, we would never consider this
32%
Total votes: 100

Yesterday, C+D clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart questioned the consequences of pharmacies changing their delivery policy.

10 Comments
Question: 
Would you consider scrapping free medicines deliveries in your pharmacy?

Ari Butt, Community pharmacist

It’s about time ALL pharmacies charged for deliveries ! If the government is not prepared to provide funding in the contract for this service then we have no choice but to charge ! Pharmacy is like any other business and not a charity ! United we stand , Divided we fall ! 

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

Why do pharmacies have such a massive problem with charging for deliveries? Obviously it costs the comapny a great deal to buy a van, hire a driver, and then deal with all the stupid queries about the driver being 3 minutes late. I am sure that 5 quid a month would be fine for most people, a lot of patients spend more than that a day on fags for goodness sake.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Quite a few patients are going to be in for a wake up call, half-zombified on Pregabalin, Codeine, Zopiclone, Amitriptylline et al...medicines ordered every 28 days, dispensed and dropped off without lifting a finger...sometimes in MDS just to make life even easier for them

Not really what the NHS should be subsidising so pharmacies will cut these free extras...unfortunately quite a few of the genuinely ill, disabled and sick will end up suffering (as much as the multiples will deny this is the case).

I'm sure the internet pharmacies will be sniffing around though...

CHRISTOPHER HILTON, Retail Management

Rather than scrapping free delivery,when will some one have the courage to stop Free MDS,yet another freebie offered to all and sundry,especially the homes who should all be paying for reducing their qualified staff at Pharmacies expense,so glad I retired 6 years ago after 42 generally happy  years. EX Community Slave

TasB H, Community pharmacist

we already charge car homes for a medication management service and we dont give them MDS anymore anyway- I think the market is slowly moving in that direction as well...

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

... more business for the internet pharmacies then ...

Andrew Watson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Call me cynical but:

Free home deliveries are still available for all patients via Well Pharmacy’s app, which launched last month, Mr Davidson added.

and

Mr Davidson said Well's own change in delivery policy is a response to the “challenge” of having invested “almost £10 million in our home delivery service last year, with no funding in the pharmacy contract to support this”.

Tells me Well aren't scrapping free home deliveries but shifting patients to the on line offering

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Absolutely - see their website homepage - 

NHS 

prescriptions 

delivered to 

your door for 

free

So they want to shift patient online. Same as Boots, Lloyds, Rowlands - do I see a pattern here? Yes it's called laying the ground for the closure of thousands of pharmacies. Not blaming them - it's the new game in town. 

Note to newly qualified. Get out of community pharmacy quick.

 

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

It is inevitable really...the ducks are lining up. Go offshore to cut the tax bill and cut down on the bricks and mortar outlets (starting with those not independently viable of a big cost-cutting organisation). The spoils to those with the lowest cost base. There may be some opportunity for online operators, but these are shark-infested financial waters from here on.

 

Nalin Shah, Community pharmacist

The last straw

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