Pharmacy2U: A Stroke Of Genius Or A Risk To Patients In Need?

Pharmacy2U: A Stroke Of Genius Or A Risk To Patients In Need?

At first glance, Pharmacy2U sounds like a fantastic idea. NHS patients can order their prescriptions online or via the Pharmacy2U app. Your medication is then delivered by Royal Mail. This is great for those with busy lifestyles or people who struggle to get out and about such as the elderly. For a few months now I have been using the Pharmacy2U app to order my anxiety medication each month with no problems. It seemed like the perfect solution to me. I no longer had to worry about forgetting to grab my prescription from the pharmacy. I loved that Pharmacy2U allow you to set up reminders for when your prescription is due, I never forgot to place an order. It was an incredibly helpful system. I even recommended the app to friends and family.

I apologise for the deeply unattractive image above, I certainly won’t be making it my profile picture! It looks like I’ve been beaten up, doesn’t it? Thankfully I wasn’t, that photo was taken in the early hours of Sunday morning. I was in agonising pain, and it was Pharmacy2U’s fault.

Last week, I became very ill very quickly.

I was in agony, and ended up having to contact my GP for an urgent appointment. Thankfully I was seen swiftly and diagnosed with a nasty ear infection for which I was prescribed antibiotics. I was under the impression that I could collect the antibiotics from the pharmacy straight away.

But I was wrong, because I use the Pharmacy2U service, I had to wait for vital medicine to be delivered to my home. I was told that Pharmacy2U would deliver my antibiotics within 24 hours. Understandably, I was furious, I needed to start taking the antibiotics as soon as possible. I had no choice but to wait for my medication to land on my doormat. 24 hours passed, then 48, then 72. Eventually, four days after they were initially prescribed, my prescription arrived. By this point, I should have nearly finished the course of antibiotics. Instead, I hadn’t even begun to take what my body needed to rid it of infection.

By this point I had spent six days in agonising pain.

I hadn’t been able to eat or sleep for any great length of time and my lack of balance caused by the infection was making me vomit. I’d become so unwell that several friends expressed a desire to take me to the local accident and emergency department. When I signed up to the Pharmacy2U service, I had assumed that non-repeat prescriptions could still be collected from my local pharmacy. I realised I must have missed something in the small print that states this is not the case. However, when I checked again, there was nothing to say that non-repeat urgent prescriptions would also be delivered via the Pharmacy2U service. Apparently, there was nothing I could do, I had no choice but to wait.

The infection in my ears was left untreated for far too long. I am a single mum of two. The delay in receiving my prescription left me unable to function or parent my children to the best of my ability. My body was exhausted and pained. All I wanted to do was sleep. It took all of my energy to do something as simple as the school run.

Thankfully they were incredible.

They knew mummy wasn’t feeling well and were impeccably behaved. Mia took it upon herself to fetch drinks and make snacks and Theo tried his best to use the hoover. He even blow dried my hair for me when I didn’t have the strength to hold the hair dryer above my head. But they shouldn’t have had to help me, I should have been able to take my medication immediately, or within 24 hours at the very latest.  For repeat prescriptions, Pharmacy2U is a great alternative, but when medication is required urgently, Pharmacy2U puts patients at risk. The promise of delivery within 24 hours was broken, nobody should ever have to wait four days for urgent medication.

Thousands of people are unaware that once they use Pharmacy2U for repeat prescriptions, they will be left waiting for urgent non-repeat prescriptions.  My biggest fear is that the elderly or vulnerable will be put at risk by the service. Four days is far too long for anyone to be waiting for treatment. I am utterly disgusted in the service and have already changed my preference back to my local pharmacy.

A quick Google showed me that Pharmacy2U had failed many. In fact, one article stated that the CQC had found Pharmacy2U to be unsafe and ineffective. If you use Pharmacy2U I urge you to stop as soon as possible, before it is too late. My suffering was prolonged by a service that is meant to make my life easier. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.

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Pharmacy2U: A Stroke Of Genius Or A Risk To Patients In Need?

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10 Comments

  1. Julia
    07/12/2018 / 18:14

    I am a community pharmacist that also works in a gp practice. We have patients like yourself that choose to use pharmacy2u for convience but if they require an urgent prescription like an antibiotic then you can have the prescription printed out at the surgery and take it to a pharmacy to be fulfilled.
    You highlight a very important point though. If you are signed to pharmacy2u and you get a prescription for an urgent medication please get it printed out there and then!

    • Parvesh
      08/12/2018 / 11:17

      I am surprised at this comment. The whole internet Pharmacy system undermines the valuable viability of the local community pharmacy. So by piciking and choosing doesn’t solve the problems but will increase it. Support your local pharmacy because once they are gone then where will you get your free advice and urgent meds

  2. Helen
    07/12/2018 / 19:41

    Hi. I am a community pharmacist, and I like seeing my patients face to face and giving them the best care I can. Therefore I have to advise anyone reading this post that any supplier of NHS pharmacy services can return an urgent prescription back to the NHS central database known as the spine. This can then be downloaded by your local community pharmacy. Please don’t wait for urgent medicines to be posted. Contact pharmacy2u and request they return the prescription to the spine. I hope that you are feeling better now x

    • 07/12/2018 / 19:43

      I was completely unaware of this! Had I known, I would have made sure they returned my prescription so that I could get my medication far quicker than I did. The suffering I experienced was completely unnecessary – thanks for sharing x

      • Mike
        08/12/2018 / 04:34

        Yes you can but it is a long wait for P2U customer services and then I normally had to wait for them to call me back. If I wasn’t in when their courier turned up it was a right pain

        Now I am back with one of my local chemist. A lot of local pharmacies have apps or websites and offer a same or next day delivery service . Mine is brilliant , if I am ever stuck, I can call or go and speak with the pharmacist who helps me out . I couldn’t do that with Pharmacy2u as their pharmacist is up in Yorkshire.

  3. N
    08/12/2018 / 10:32

    The other aspect to consider is do you expect the local pharmacy to still exist only for those ‘urgent’ prescriptions when everyone is getting their medicines delivered from places like P2U?
    Or when your child is ill, or eye infections etc etc
    It’s not likely so you would then be in a position of having to wait that time for your medicine.

  4. Nikesh
    08/12/2018 / 11:09

    I am a community pharmacist.
    If more and more people use Pharmacy2u or similar internet pharmacies for their repeat scripts it means less and less going to your local pharmacy.
    Result; your local pharmacy will not be able to survive on scraps of acute scripts.
    Your local pharmacy will close down and you will have to go many miles or use the internet pharmacy. Simple logic.
    A bricks and mortar pharmacy is less than 10 minutes away from most people in England, so use them otherwise you will be back to the situation you were in and have delays in getting your script filled.
    You have a healthcare professional easily accessible on the high street.
    So use your local pharmacy otherwise you only have yourselves to blame.

  5. Vicki
    08/12/2018 / 11:32

    Also, sending regular prescriptions to pharmacy 2u its reducing funding to your local pharmacies. Many are already closing because of internet pharmacies. Luckily, you still have a choice and can transfer back to your local pharmacy, but if people keep signing up to internet based pharmacies, then there will not be that option in the future, because your nearest pharmacy will be miles and miles away, or the only provider in the area will be an online provider.
    More pressure will be put on emergency departments and gp services.
    Local pharmacies are crucial. Not just for prescriptions, but for over the counter medicines and advice.
    Thank you for highlighting the downsides of online pharmacies.
    Hope you feel better soon!

  6. K
    10/12/2018 / 02:46

    My husband is housebound and a home delivery service could be so easy. Yet I would NEVER move from my local pharmacy for so many reasons. Main one being I have any queries/concerns requiring him or any of my family I the pharmacists and aswell as the rest of the team are fantastic. But I know I can have get their advice or help when need without feeling a nuisance. Aslong as I can support my local pharmacy I will cause if it meant 5pm xmas eve I need medication or help they’re there. Is pharmacy 2u?? Do they care or give that personal touch….NO

  7. Kh
    10/12/2018 / 02:47

    My husband is housebound and a home delivery service could be so easy. Yet I would NEVER move from my local pharmacy for so many reasons. Main one being I have any queries/concerns requiring him or any of my family I the pharmacists and aswell as the rest of the team are fantastic. But I know I can have get their advice or help when need without feeling a nuisance. Aslong as I can support my local pharmacy I will cause if it meant 5pm xmas eve I need medication or help they’re there. Is pharmacy 2u?? Do they care or give that personal touch….NO

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