Budleigh residents offer “verbal abuse” queuing on the street to get their pills

The “old dears” of Budleigh are up in arms.

Not knowing whether either of the two Lloyds pharmacies are open, then sometimes having to queue on the street in the cold to be served.

You wait weeks to get an appointment, then you wait sometimes for days to get any prescribed medication dispensed!

The dispensing of prescriptions in the town has descended into near farce, as has Simon Jupp’s reaction, see below. 

Residents in Budleigh struggling with ‘poor’ pharmacy service

Residents in Budleigh Salterton are struggling to collect prescribed medications due to staff shortages at the two Lloyds pharmacies in Budleigh High Street.

Adam Manning www.exmouthjournal.co.uk 

For the past year, both the Lloyds Pharmacy have been opening with restricted hours. There are occasions when one or other pharmacy is open but sometimes customers have to queue outside the shop.

Sue Lake, chairman of the local Patients Participation Group, (PPG) said: “We have been pressing Lloyds, the NHS and other stakeholders for the past twelve months because the PPG is concerned about patients and whether or not Lloyds are meeting the terms of their two dispensing licenses.

“The PPG continues to be involved in continuing NHS discussions but the current situation of having to queue outside the shop to wait to be served on the pavement is just not appropriate, especially, with the onset of winter.”

 A spokesman for Lloyds Pharmacy said: “Verbal abuse from customers is cited as a contributing factor to three managers leaving over two months. The pharmacies have not been able to be open every day because there is a national shortage of locum pharmacists and also, they have not been able to recruit and train retail staff.”

Many residents of Budleigh and surrounding villages are moving their prescriptions to pharmacies in Exmouth, some offer a delivery service. However, the PPG believe that the best option would be for our town to have two pharmacies which are trusted and reliable to provide a much-needed dispensing service.

Chris Kitson, member of the PPG, told the Journal: “The lack of reliable trading hours are very worrying to residents who make a journey to Town to collect their medication only to find the shops closed or that their medications are not available as the staff have not had time to unpack the deliveries from the Lloyds central warehouse near Bristol. This unacceptable level of service is also placing our Medical Centre under additional strain as they have to deal with patient requests to try and help them obtain their medications.”

“The PPG fail to see why Lloyds insist upon running two pharmacies in the town, surely it would make sense to run one business effectively rather than two very poor There is little evidence of resource management or support to the clearly over stretched staff. The strain their staff are under is unfair as they are in the front line trying to achieve the impossible.”

Residents who wish to complain about the service email customer services@lloydspharmacy.co.uk or england.contactus@nhs.net starting the email with I wish to complain.

Simon Jupp’s reaction (to be contrasted with Richard Foord’s on unacceptable GP appointment waiting times)

Here is how Simon Jupp reacted a couple of weeks ago in his weekly press release:

First he outlines the problem

I have received quite a few emails recently about local pharmacies being closed at short notice or with long queues outside stores.

The problem has been particularly acute in Budleigh Salterton. I recently met with LloydsPharmacy, who run branches in the town and across East Devon.

He expresses shock at the issues raised, but they are not the ones that immediately spring to mind

I will be honest that the issues raised in the meeting really shocked me. Verbal abuse from customers has been cited as a contributing factor to three managers leaving a store in Budleigh over two months. Sadly, stores haven’t been able to open every day because there’s a national shortage of qualified staff and locum pharmacists and dispensers are not always available to make up the shortfall.

Pharmacies can’t dispense medicines without a pharmacist on site. Recruitment remains a struggle despite the offer of generous hourly rates and bonuses. The government has added pharmacists to the shortage occupation list to help recruitment from elsewhere. Training can take up to five years, depending on the role.

He recognises frustration with the “service” then passes the buck

I recognise that many of us will be frustrated when we don’t get the service we expect. But there’s no excuse to verbally abuse staff who are just doing their jobs. LloydsPharmacy assure me they are working hard to recruit new staff and will keep me updated with their progress.

Lastly, he indulges in a classic Tory diversionary and gratuitous attack on EDDC 

I have also received emails from residents concerned about the continued closure of Exmouth Town Hall and Blackdown House in Honiton. East Devon District Council closed both offices at the start of the pandemic with no firm plans announced to reopen them. It prompted several political groups to work cross-party on an open letter to the council calling for both offices to reopen. Funnily enough, I hear the leader was informed of the letter on Thursday and wasn’t best pleased, as you might possibly be able to tell from his column this week. It prompted a press release on Friday announcing that Exmouth Town Hall will reopen in December.

The time has come to also reopen their offices at Honiton for face-to-face support for visitors who turn up and may need help. It’s what council tax payers expect.

Bottom line: he fails to address the issue – another example of the broken NHS – Owl