Fed-up Rugby patients call for urgent improvements to pharmacy services

“Customers have to queue down the street in all weathers to be told prescriptions are not ready”
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Fed-up patients are calling for urgent improvements to pharmacy services in Rugby.

They say there has been a ‘frightening decline’ in pharmacies in the town with Boots moving services to Junction One and the closure of Rowlands Pharmacy in Corporation Street and Lloyds Pharmacy ending its commercial arrangements with Sainsbury’s.

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Leya Hubbold, who lives in Rugby, said: “I am a disabled person who relies on medication to keep me functioning and, without being dramatic, alive.

Well Pharmacy in Rugby. Picture: Google Street View.Well Pharmacy in Rugby. Picture: Google Street View.
Well Pharmacy in Rugby. Picture: Google Street View.

"I have been concerned at the plummeting availability of drugs for some time but also the frightening decline in pharmacies. I do not drive and I’m unable to use public transport. I could not get to Boots in Leicester Road without extreme difficulty.”

She said her struggles have worsened over the last three months.

“It has become impossible to get my prescription filled and then collected,” Leya added.

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“I use Knights pharmacy in Sheep Street, which recently became Wells. The shop has been closing early, opening late and customers now have to queue for up to an hour and a half in all weathers to be told that their prescriptions are not ready and to come back in an hour or another day.

"When you return you have to queue for another hour or more, often to be told all or some of your prescription is not available.”

Leya said the prescription delivery service is ‘unpredictable’ and her phone calls go unanswered.

She said: “Last Wednesday a man collapsed in the queue and an ambulance had to be called and he was taken to hospital.

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"The majority of customers are ill, disabled and older people and it is becoming untenable to deliver a service and for people to get their medication.

“The development of housing complexes everywhere in Rugby and surrounding area is putting a huge strain on all infrastructure - doctors, dentists and council services. But the situation with pharmacies is frightening.”

Andrea Johnstone wrote to Rugby MP Mark Pawsey on behalf of her elderly mother who lives in the town.

She said: “I find the pharmacy situation both intolerable and unacceptable in view of the fact that not all the residents own a computer and therefore cannot order their medication online and neither are they able to drive to a pharmacy located outside the town centre.

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"The situation has worsened since the announcement of Boots’ imminent closure.”

Andrea said she sympathaised with pharmacy staff and that more facilities should be available.

"Staff are working under severe stress with queues of people waiting for their prescriptions spilling out onto the street,” she added.

“My sister waited one and a half hours last Tuesday morning only to discover that our mother's medication, which had been ordered on March 6, was not ready and she was told that it would be delivered to our mother's home on Wednesday afternoon.”

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The medication didn’t arrive and Andrea went back the following day and waited for an hour for it to be processed.

A spokesman for Well Pharmacy said: “We apologise for any issues our patients are facing at our Well Pharmacy in Rugby.

"We are working hard with our area manager to support the pharmacy manager and team in ensuring the local community has access to full pharmacy services.

"Consequently, we've recruited several new colleagues and are offering additional training to all our staff."

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"We would encourage patients signed up to our text message alerts to wait for their notification before collecting their medication, unless they are likely to be without medication.

"All patients are invited to sign up for our free text message alerts so we can let them know when their prescriptions are ready to collect to save them time.”

Mark Pawsey MP said the lack of pharmacy capacity in Rugby, particularly in the town centre, is becoming ‘untenable’.

He is calling on Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board and the Health and Wellbeing Board to take urgent steps to bring forward a review of the pharmacy coverage in Rugby, to enable new providers to come forward and meet the demand.

We have contacted Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board and the Health and Wellbeing Board for a comment.

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