A flyer was delivered by post to my house the other day inviting the recipient to sign up to a repeat prescription service called Pharmacy2U. I’m always suspicious about services which appear to be part of the NHS, so I thought I’d do a bit of digging.
I’m not a doctor and I don’t have any special knowledge or expertise in healthcare, so I’m not going to advise you whether or not to use this service. But if you’re considering it you might like to think about these things before making your decision.
- Although the flyer mentions the local surgeries (including the now closed Richards Medical Centre) Pharmacy2U is nothing to do with them. My own surgery tells me some of their patients use it; it is a matter of choice, and the surgery does not advise either way.
- Pharmacy2U is a so-called ‘Internet Pharmacy’ and is based in Leeds. You can authorise them to manage your repeat prescriptions. Your surgery can send your prescriptions to them electronically using the NHS Electronic Prescription Service, and Pharmacy2U will send your medication to you by post.
- If you sign up to this service any previous prescription arrangements you had will stop, so you won’t be able to get your prescription filled at a local pharmacy.
- Pharmacy2U was fined £130,000 in 2015 for selling patients’ names and addresses. These details were bought by an Australian lottery company and a health supplements firm.
- In a report published in June 2017 Tte Care Quality Commission found Pharmacy2U provided “caring, and responsive services but not safe, effective or well led services”. See also this article on the CQC report. Pharmacy2U say they are “implementing the improvements suggested by the CQC”.
- The Daily Express has been critical of Pharmacy2U’s marketing, saying it is confusing patients.
- If you like to order your repeat prescriptions online you can do so by registering for the Electronic Prescription Service at your local surgery and arrange to collect your medication from your local pharmacy.
As I said, any decision is up to you. You may feel it would be very convenient to have your medication delivered by post. But if you also think that having local pharmacies is a good thing you might like to support them by using them. Many, including the Rowlands Pharmacy at the Manor in Osler Road, and Boots, offer a delivery service to your door if you find it difficult to get to the pharmacy. Both these companies operate an internet service with postal delivery too, so there’s a wider choice out there than just Pharmacy2U.