LloydsPharmacy hospital pharmacy contract put out to tender
By Neil Trainis
The contract for the outpatient pharmacy at University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP) run by LloydsPharmacy has been put out to tender after long queues and disruption to its services prompted the Trust’s bosses to relocate it to a larger site.
In a statement released on UHP’s website yesterday, chief pharmacist Kandarp Thakkar apologised to patients for what he described as services that had fallen “well below the standards that both ourselves and LloydsPharmacy expect and indeed expect to deliver for our patients”.
Insisting the “current outpatient pharmacy has outgrown itself,” he said workload within the NHS had returned to pre-Covid pandemic levels, and that had seen workload increase by over 20 per cent within the outpatient pharmacy setting.
He said UHP had secured planning permission to build a larger outpatient pharmacy at the new site inside a nearby multistorey car park and had put the contract out to tender, insisting he was “confident” UHP would have a “new outpatient pharmacy offering” in October this year.
Thakkar also said “many of the medicines that you would pick up in the hospital LloydsPharmacy cannot be obtained from your high street pharmacy” and warned “the solution, therefore, is not simple”.
“This space will be more than twice the size of our current outpatient offering,” he said. “This increased space means we can recruit more staff, have better patient-facing facilities, include innovative services such as home delivery, another innovation that we simply cannot do in our current footprint.”
That, he said, will result in “better patient experience and reduced waiting times”.
In the meantime, he claimed LloydsPharmacy was trying to ease pressures by increasing its “level of staffing as best they can with the current space constraints”, while volunteers working for the Trust were outside the pharmacy giving patients information on waiting times and handing out bottles of water to help them cope with the hot weather. The Trust has also installed temporary seating for waiting patients.
“We’re looking at current demands on the Lloyds services and finding ways for our most vulnerable patients (to) get medicines directly to the patient’s home,” Thakkar said. “I hope you will see an improvement in patient experience compared to what you have seen in the last few months.”