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Call for clearer guidance on home deliveries

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Call for clearer guidance on home deliveries

Pharmacists in the UK have reported an increased demand for the home delivery of medication in the last year, yet over half (57%) are still unclear about legislation surrounding such a service, according to new research published by CitySprint Healthcare.

The specialist courier service is now urging the industry to work together to provide clearer guidance on the area.

The research also reveals that more than three-quarters of pharmacies (rising to 91% for those in independent pharmacies) now offer home deliveries. It finds that on average, pharmacy staff spend 11 hours a week managing deliveries, with those in independent pharmacies investing even more – 13 hours - of their time.

In a third of cases, CitySprint says it is pharmacists themselves, rather than other on-site staff, who are forced to spend their time on logistics management, despite facing pressure to evolve pharmacies and expand business offerings.

In fact, it is fears about drains on finances and staff that are holding some pharmacies back from addressing the demand for home delivery services at all. Almost half (45%) of those not currently offering home delivery claimed to be worried that cost to the business would be too high, while 41% said they were concerned about the impact on staff time. A quarter stated they were troubled about funding cuts and aiming to keep costs down as a result.

Darren Taylor, chief development officer, CitySprint, commented on the findings: “Pharmacies are under unprecedented funding and regulatory pressures – and the growing demand for home delivery can be an increasing drain on resources if not managed effectively. Although pharmacists should have oversight of home delivery services, managing all aspects of the offering is not sustainable for expert staff members that could be adding value elsewhere in the business.”

“It’s also evident from our research that the legal obligations around pharmacy-to-home deliveries are far from clear cut for pharmacists. It is vital the security of the medicine supply chain extends to home delivery and, as this responsibility remains with the pharmacist, we are calling on the industry to work together to provide clearer guidance in this area.”

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