It was only just over a month ago that most of us were sitting down to tuck into our one roast turkey dinner of the year while starting to think about resolutions for the 12 months ahead.
For our pharmacy, Christmas Day provided a well-earned rest after one of the most hectic weeks of 2019. We dispensed for thousands of patients, keen to ensure any prescription medicines they needed were safe at hand. I have worked in my pharmacy for over 20 years now and dealing with the Christmas rush never gets any easier!
I imagine that our patients feel much the same way, as they balance busy work and life schedules while remembering to collect their prescriptions before the shops close, albeit for just a couple of days.
A helping hand from automation
Having dispensed over 25,000 items in December, we found that the automation in our pharmacy – particularly our two Pharmaself24 prescription collection units – proved invaluable over the festive season.
We load dispensed bags into the PS24s, and they automate the rest of the handing out process for us. Every person who collects from the PS24 is a person that doesn’t queue, it’s one less bag that my team have to find on the shelf, and it’s one less customer who doesn’t have to queue at the busiest time of the year.
In the week leading up to Christmas, our patients collected a quite staggering 567 parcels from our two collection machines, with many of these outside of our normal opening hours. That’s 567 times our patients didn’t wait in a queue, 567 times my staff didn’t go looking for a bag and 567 times that my pharmacy delivered a positive experience for its patients. Even more remarkable is that 18 collections were made on Christmas Day itself, followed by a further 22 on Boxing Day.
Many of our other Pharmaself24 customers have similar experiences of customers welcoming the opportunity to collect when it suits them. So, while Amazon may be the poster-brand for 24/7 service culture, changing patient expectations and behaviours are clearly in evidence at pharmacies like ours all across the UK.
Ryszard is co-CEO of Hub and Spoke Innovations and a Director at West Elloe Pharmacy.
If you’re interested to learn more about how the Pharmaself24 can benefit your patients next Christmas, then get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss.