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Health board in talks with Lloyds about ‘failures’ in Aberdeen branch

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Health board in talks with Lloyds about ‘failures’ in Aberdeen branch

A Scottish health board has said it is in talks with LloydsPharmacy regarding ongoing ‘failures’ at one of its stores in Aberdeenshire.

There are reports of patients waiting for several hours to collect their medicines from the Westhill Shopping Centre branch, prompting the shopping centre to install a “temporary queuing system” in some of its outdoor parking spaces. 

There have also been complaints of lost prescriptions and wrong medicines being handed out, local newspaper The Press and Journal has reported. 

The shopping centre store is the only pharmacy currently open in Westhill after Lloyds decided to close its other store in the town until August 28.

The multiple has consolidated the staff from both pharmacies in the Westhill branch to combat what it describes as a “sector-wide” staffing shortage.

A spokesperson for NHS Grampian said: “We have been working to support Lloyds in delivering their contractual obligations in Westhill in recent months.

“Consolidation of staff from the two pharmacies into one and delivering full-time hours in the short term is aimed at ensuring residents can be provided with continuity of service. This consolidation started this week and is planned to run throughout August.

“We continue to be in dialogue with Lloyds regarding their failure to deliver the terms of service for Westhill they are obliged to under the Pharmaceutical Regulations.

“Key to those obligations is providing dispensing of prescriptions with ‘reasonable promptness’ throughout the pharmacy’s core hours of opening.

“Other pharmacies are also available in nearby communities, including Kingswells.”

A spokesperson for Lloyds apologised for the delays at the Westhill branch and said: “We are working closely with local health boards to ensure patients can access medicines and pharmacy services.

“We are actively recruiting to strengthen our teams, but recruiting new pharmacists and pharmacy team members has become increasingly difficult owing to a sector-wide shortage.

“These workforce challenges mark the pressures facing community pharmacy which require a sector-wide response; it is not something Lloyds Pharmacy and other community pharmacy providers can address on their own.

“As always, patient safety is paramount for us however we are operating, like the rest of the healthcare sector, in extraordinarily challenging times." 

Earlier today (Tuesday August 9), a spokesperson for the shopping centre posted on its Facebook account that it had met with LloydsPharmacy management regarding the “unacceptable length of time it is taking to process and collect prescriptions”.

They added: “The meeting has left us confident that they are doing all they can to get this resolved.

“Unfortunately, it is just going to take a few days to work through the huge backlog of prescriptions that's have built up as one branch tries to work their way through thousands of prescriptions, but I think we will see a big difference soon.”

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