Boots will end the free delivery of prescriptions from its stores in Derry next month.
Deliveries for prescriptions ordered online will remain free, however.
The retailer said new charges of £5 per delivery or 12 months of deliveries for £55 will be extended to existing customers. Boots have already started charging for delivery for new patients. This is in line with charging by other pharmacies and is an effort to adapt to the challenging environment faced by community pharmacy services at present, it said.
One Derry customer, who asked not to be named, said: “I’d get a number of my prescriptions delivered from Boots and at £5 for every delivery it will soon add up very quickly. It will be a lot of money, especially for people who don’t have a car or can’t get down to the chemist.”
Richard Bradley, from Boots, said: “Community pharmacy is unquestionably facing challenges and we need to adapt our offer to respond. As a result, we have invested heavily in digital technologies to offer a free, easy-to-use service for delivery of repeat prescriptions ordered online. Patients who make use of the in-store service will be required to pay for delivery should they require it, with exceptions in place to cover our most vulnerable patients in circumstances where their care necessitates delivery.”
Boots will continue to provide a free delivery service from store for the most vulnerable patients including those who are receiving end of life care or where an emergency delivery is needed.