Ash Vale pharmacy where people queue for hours to get lifesaving drugs before being turned away by the ‘bouncer’

Residents of Ash Vale have been infuriated by days of long queues at a local pharmacy, with some turned away empty-handed despite waiting hours to collect life-saving drugs. In one case, an elderly man reportedly waited outside for four hours and received only part of his prescription. When he returned the next day to collect the rest, he waited another 90 minutes before being turned away as the store had reached its closing time.

Emma Smith was among those caught up in the delays. She told SurreyLive she was due to collect a prescription last week but had heard there were long queues on Thursday and Friday so she waited until Saturday June 11 to collect it. When she arrived that morning, she was surprised to find a sign on the door stating that the store would only be open in the afternoon.

Unable to return at the time, Emma’s partner Tom went to her place around 4 p.m. and was still queuing outside at 5:15 p.m. when a security guard appeared to say to those expecting that anyone who was not inside the store at 5:30 p.m. would not be served. . Tom had spoken with the elderly gentleman who had waited four hours the day before and had tried to plead his case because the medicine he needed was for a heart condition, but he was still refused entry.

READ MORE: Surrey Hospital asks patients not to use A&E unless the problem is serious or life-threatening

“It was a little bad, really,” Emma said. “Bouncers in a nightclub can have that attitude, but bouncers outside a pharmacy? It was a little disconcerting.” She was able to return on Monday (June 13) to try a third time and found a smaller queue but similar delays. One man was particularly upset because he urgently needed to pick up a prescription for his wife, who has cancer.

Unfortunately, the delays don’t seem to be punctual, as comments on the review website BestCareCompare paint a picture of persistent problems at the branch. “I made five visits to complete my prescription,” said an anonymous user. “If it was any other business, he would go bankrupt.”

“Absolutely chaotic!” said another review from August last year. “They can never find your prescription or it’s never made up even though they had a week’s notice to prepare it. Also a big queue of people and most are complaining about the same thing: out of stock of prescription items, [it] takes forever to catch up, can’t find your prescription, etc. Waste of time really.

SurreyLive has contacted Lloyds Pharmacy about the issues at Ash Vale. In response, a spokesperson pointed to the continued shortage of pharmacists across the country, which the Company Chemists’ Association said last year had been “exacerbated by Covid, Brexit and the reforms in NHS course”.

The spokesperson added: “Legally, a pharmacist must be present in the pharmacy for her to open and give patients their prescriptions, so at times when a back-up pharmacist cannot be found in case of illness and absence, our last resort is to temporarily close We are actively recruiting a full-time pharmacist at our Ash Vale Pharmacy, but recruiting new pharmacists and pharmacy teams has become increasingly difficult.

“The pharmacy has also experienced a number of customer behavior incidents which are impacting service levels. Our regional manager is on site and we are deploying colleagues from other branches to manage the workload safely. security. We apologize for the impact this is having on the community and appreciate their understanding at this time.”

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