Anger over Lloyds Pharmacy prescription delivery charge
A Poulton pensioner has challenged Lloyds Pharmacy over the company's decision to introduce a prescription delivery charge, when many people are shielding and relying on the service.
Frank Hessey, 77, of Windermere Avenue in Poulton, was shocked to learn that Lloyds Pharmacy had introduced a £5 delivery charge for prescriptions after visiting the Teanlowe Centre branch in Poulton.
Lloyds Pharmacy branches across the country have implemented the charge in a bid to "overcome financial challenges and protect [its] long-term future."
But Mr Hessey said the introduction of a charge would "help to spread the transmission of the virus by making the most vulnerable have to venture out and queue to collect prescriptions."
He said: "It's not that I can't afford the £5 charge, it's the principal.
"It's total nonsense that at a time when the Government are telling us to stay at home, vulnerable people will now be coming out to collect prescriptions.
"I have health conditions, I shouldn't be going out, so I've instructed my doctor to move my prescriptions to Carleton Pharmacy, where they are still delivering for free.
"I noticed on the door in Lloyds that there was an Echo service, but you have to register online to use it.
"How many of these elderly people needing prescriptions use the internet?"
Mr Hessey also said he believed the company was "profiteering" from the pandemic, adding: "This is an outrageous decision to profit on the back of the coronavirus.
"Is it not sufficient to be receiving the money for dispensing the prescriptions, without putting on extortionate delivery charges?"
In response to Mr Hessey's concerns, a spokesman for Lloyds Pharmacy informed him the company was urging customers to contact their MPs, in a bid to help them secure more Government funding and highlight the importance of community pharmacies.
A Lloyds Pharmacy spokesman told The Gazette: "Like a lot of businesses, we need to adapt our business model in order to overcome financial challenges and protect our long-term future.
"Unfortunately, because of reduced government funding over recent years and the impact of Covid-19, it isn’t feasible for us to continue to offer a free delivery service from our pharmacies in England, but we do have several other options available.
"Patients who don’t wish to pay for home delivery can choose to collect their medicines in person from their local Lloyds Pharmacy, or nominate a family member, friend or carer to collect them on their behalf. Alternatively, they can sign up to Echo by Lloyds Pharmacy and continue to receive their prescriptions delivered free of charge.
"Patients who still want a home delivery service are able to subscribe to this at a cost of £30 for six months and £60 for 12 months. Unlimited people from one household can also sign up at the rate of £45 for six months and £90 for 12 months.
"Our top priority will always be patient safety and making sure everyone has access to the medicines that they need and we are doing everything we can to help move patients on to a medicine collection or delivery option that’s suitable for them.
"Lloyds Pharmacy patients who are on the clinically vulnerable list and normally collect their prescriptions were eligible to receive their medicines at home free of charge, funded by the Government. Patients self-isolating with Covid-19 symptoms are not part of this criteria but can ask someone to collect their medicines on their behalf, ask their pharmacy to help them find a volunteer, who will have been ID checked, to deliver it to them or they can have it delivered by us for a one-off payment of £5."