In the autumn, the Parish Council met with the Regional Manager of Lloyds and the new General Manager of the Holmes Chapel branch. This meeting was arranged after the Parish Council heard concerns from residents about the pharmacy. The following information is to update residents on the situation with the Holmes Chapel branch of Lloyds.
Lloyds apologised for the level of service residents had been receiving and understood the frustrations and concerns which have been raised. Over the summer months, changes have been made to the staffing at the local branch with the new Regional Manager taking over and the introduction of a General Store Manager. An experienced Pharmacist Manager has also been recruited. There are now a number of new staff members in the store including one pharmacist. The Regional Manager has been visiting the store every week to support staff and help rebuild the service.
It was explained that the reduction in opening hours in the summer was to allow staff to catch up on a backlog of work and to tidy and clean the store. The store has now returned to normal operating hours.
A question was asked about the rules should the Pharmacist not be in store and no locum can be found. It was explained that the rules are very strict. If no pharmacist is available, the branch should be closed. However, the branch can open if the following rules are followed:
1. No prescribed medication can be handed out or delivered even if it’s been prepared.
2. No medication can be dispensed.
3. P-meds (some over the counter medication) e.g. cough mixture cannot be sold.
Prescriptions can be accepted and taken in but cannot be prepared until the pharmacist is back.
In the event of pharmacist absence, locum Pharmacists are attempted to be used. However, there are many challenges in terms of recruitment. There is a significant decrease in availability of pharmacists. If any staff test positive for Covid-19 the 10 days isolation rule remains. Lloyds have a dedicated team whose role is to resource pharmacists to cover absences
A question was asked about supply chains. In terms of clinical supplies, there are some shortages with certain products, and this can change depending on manufactures ability to supply these, which is dependent on raw ingredients and staffing issues at these manufactures. It was highlighted that prescriptions cannot be changed by a pharmacist even to another brand because a prescription is a legal document. General stock is more of an issue due to supply problems and staff shortages in haulage etc… This is a nationwide issue not a Lloyds specific issue.
A question was asked about size and future growth of the village. It was explained that the branch is one of the biggest dispensaries and currently no issue with space.
It was highlighted that residents should allow 7 days for repeat prescriptions.
The Parish Council is grateful to Lloyds for taking the time to meet with us.