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