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What you said about pharmacy services during the pandemic

The feedback received relates to both dispensing practices and community pharmacies.

Using your pharmacy

The feedback received relates to both dispensing practices and community pharmacies.

489 people (85%) said they had used pharmacy services during the pandemic. 430 of those people (75%) felt they knew how to get healthcare and advice from a pharmacy during the pandemic.

364 people (63%) said they were either happy or very happy to use pharmacy services. Some people’s opinion changed during the pandemic, such as due to long queues to access the pharmacy and also poor customer service, including staff attitudes and delays in dispensing medication.

Other people described trouble accessing medication due to their pharmacy not providing a delivery service, having to sign for medication or not being able to get to the pharmacy. Other people described being unable to seek advice due to the pharmacy staff being too busy.

Some people said they had found accessing pharmacy services quicker than booking a GP appointment and that pharmacists had more time than GPs.

497 people (86%) ordered a repeat prescription during the pandemic. 236 people (or nearly half of all respondents) said they had ordered their repeat prescription online.

Other ways that people had ordered their prescription included via:

  • telephone
  • managed repeat
  • written request to GP practice
  • email
  • automatic order for next time
  • text
  • another person
  • NHS app or online patient access
  • pharmacy holds 6 months of prescriptions

497 people ordered a repeat prescription during the pandemic.

For 396 people (80%) this method of ordering repeat prescriptions was not different to usual. 97 people said they had ordered their prescription in a different way to usual during the pandemic.

177 people (36%) felt that they had waited longer than usual for their prescription to be issued. Reasons for this included:

  • busy pharmacy
  • length of time to find or give notice to order prescriptions
  • specific order for opioid medication
  • change to medication
  • not received from surgery
  • medication not available
  • decreased dispensing at surgery
  • hand delivery instead of fax from surgery
  • authorisation delay
  • text to confirm ready not received
  • reduced hours
  • restricted entry to shop
  • not delivered
  • repeat not ordered by pharmacy
  • queues
  • sometimes sent to wrong pharmacy by surgery
  • fewer staff
  • changes to computer system
  • anxious about collections

403 people (71%) told us that they did not avoid using a pharmacy during the pandemic.

164 people (29%) said they had avoided the pharmacy. Reasons included:

  • didn’t feel safe and fear of catching coronavirus, so did not want to be in public or stood in pharmacy queues
  • self-isolating
  • purposely switched to delivery
  • poor staff attitudes and customer service
  • lack of sufficient stock
  • didn’t want to burden the pharmacy

302 people told us what changes to pharmacy services they would like to see continue, what could be improved and what additional changes they would like to see. Lots of people were happy with the changes.

Mostly people wished to see home and postal deliveries and online ordering continue.

Services to continue

  • Home delivery service.
  • Online prescription ordering.
  • Efficiency.
  • Good that more were open on bank holiday.
  • Offered emergency supplies when needed.
  • Contact by text.

Services to improve

  • IT changes.
  • When met at the pharmacy door by the pharmacist you are unable to see what other items are for sale in the store.
  • Online ordering.
  • Keep the old system for online repeat requests.
  • Extended hours.
  • More staff available to answer phone.
  • With online ordering stocks of medication can build up.
  • More than a week’s worth of prescriptions.
  • Social distancing in smaller shops.
  • Opening hours.
  • Collection times.
  • Ability to speak with pharmacist.
  • Easy drop off point (box).
  • Consistency in delivery service.
  • Use of shared pen or clipboard when signing for medication at local shop.
  • Better advertisement for services available at a pharmacy.
  • Prescriptions need to be available from Gorran Haven surgery again.
  • Not all pharmacies are working to the same remit (minor illness).
  • Pharmacy management of repeat and delivery.

Service changes

  • Pharmacy is in GP waiting room. Perhaps separate entrance and privacy.
  • Revert to normal.
  • 2 or 3 months’ supply of medication instead of just 1.
  • Better privacy options.
  • To not do flu jabs.
  • Prescribers in pharmacies.
  • A time slot for collections.
  • Somewhere other than a ‘window’ to access pharmacist so people can shelter from weather.
  • Use electronic transmission for prescriptions.
  • More treatments for children.
  • Telephone repeat requests to be bought back.
  • Pharmacists to be able to amend prescriptions when appropriate.
  • Support for pharmacists from other HCP and the NHS or government.
  • Use volunteer drivers to drop off prescriptions.
  • Chair or seating outside for those that need it.
  • Collection only service separate from that where people have medication queries.
  • E-mail to say they have received the repeat prescription, and then another once it is ready for collection.
  • Scheduled review with pharmacist every year.
  • NHS community staff to get quick access when collecting medication.

Ongoing healthcare

We asked people if they, or someone they care for, have a long term condition. The 361 people (64%) who answered this question said that they, or someone they care for, have a long term condition.

Some people told us that they had experienced changes in the management of long term conditions during the pandemic. Examples included:

  • difficulties ordering repeat medication
  • remote monitoring
  • no regular blood pressure testing
  • trying to self-manage condition
  • phone appointments not as thorough as face to face
  • care at home via BUPA
  • am or pm phone appointments not acceptable
  • asthma review by telephone difficult due to hearing loss
  • glaucoma check-up not done
  • unable to see GP
  • no appointments to check PSA levels – only access by email
  • used drive through for bloods and INR
  • delayed diabetes check
  • longer wait for palliative care and dementia teams
  • 3 monthly blood tests instead of monthly
  • diagnostic procedure delays
  • difficulty obtaining prescriptions
  • have let symptoms continue longer than they usually would
  • all hospital appointments cancelled
  • unable to talk to anyone about mental health concerns
  • waiting in car at surgery
  • administration of vitamin B12 changed
  • increased anxiety
  • regular reviews delayed
  • phone appointments with hospital consultant instead of face to face
  • daily tablets spaced out to every other day for a week to make them last
  • able to self-monitor blood pressure

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