"What is the agreement between Lloyds Pharmacy and Derriford Hospital?"

About: Derriford Hospital

(as the patient),

This is a copy of the email I sent to the hospital PALS people in June 2011.

I was appalled to discover that my outpatient prescription had to be dispensed from the hospital branch of Lloyds Pharmacy and by no other pharmacy.

I cannot understand the thinking behind this other than to generate more funds for the hospital. Add this to the charges for car parking and the provision of TV and telephone and the impression of "money grabbing" grows.

Last Thursday, I had to leave without my medication as I had no money with me and I had left my prescription exemption card at home. I was told that I could take the prescription with me and come back later. I have never heard anything so ridiculous! This gives Lloyds Pharmacy a monopoly which I feel is extremely suspect.

Luckily, my GP's surgery is extremely helpful and understanding, and after looking at my records, wrote the necessary prescription for me and I managed to get it dispensed by my local pharmacy.

Mentioning this new scheme to both the GP and the pharmacy manager met with disbelief as neither knew anything about it, and the pharmacy manager was furious, stating that this will affect her trade and will likely cause some of the smaller pharmacies to close causing more problems for the public.

Lastly, I have seen nothing about this anywhere not even on the hospital web site, so I can imagine a great deal of inconvenience has and will be caused to a great many patients.

In July, I was told that a letter had been sent explaining the decision and that it had been advertised on local radio and in the local press. I listen to our local radio stations and read our local press on a daily basis and it was a couple of weeks after my original complaint when I read a couple of lines in our local paper stating that Lloyds Pharmacy was operating in the hospital. Nothing about the sole concession of dispensing outpatient prescriptions.

Incidentally, the letter did arrive some weeks later. It was addressed to me, Plymouth, Devon. This is despite my address and phone number clearly stated on the letter of complaint I sent as a follow up to my email. You couldn't make it up!

I have also contacted Ms Alison Seabeck (my MP) who is actively looking into the matter, but she is having as much luck as I am .... Absolutely none.

I feel we are seeing a public service being run on a commercial footing with money coming first, and the patient and the front line staff taking a third and fourth place.

I have just checked the hospital web site, and still am unable to find anything about this monopoly.

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