The most vulnerable people in town will be hit by a “grotesque” decision to start charging for prescription deliveries, according to an Eastbourne councillor.
Robin Maxted is calling on Boots Pharmacy to reverse its decision to charge £5 per delivery or £55 a year for the service from September 30.
Those with terminal illness are exempt but pensioners and those on benefits will have to pay the new charges.
Councillor Maxted, of Upperton Ward, said “I think this is a grotesque decision by Boots, almost, to target the worst off and most vulnerable in our society.
“An 89-year-old Upperton resident contacted me, stating that as he and his wife are housebound they relied on the deliveries.
“They cannot order online (which would enable free delivery) as they do not have access to the internet.
“Furthermore, as both need regular prescriptions, they will each be charged a £5 delivery fee, even though the medicines will be delivered at the same time.
“This is tantamount to Boots taxing the sick which is simply wrong.”
Councillor Maxted held up a poster outside Boots which said, “shame on you”.
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has also criticised the decision.
He said, “When I heard about this decision by Boots and how it will be affecting many disadvantaged people in our community, I immediately agreed to write to the company’s chief executive demanding they rethink this appalling corporate decision.”
Boots said its online repeat prescription service includes free postal delivery for all patients. But it has started charging for patients who wish to have their prescriptions delivered from the store.
Boots Pharmacy director Richard Bradley said, “Community pharmacy is unquestionably facing challenges and we need to adapt our offer to respond.
“As a result, we have invested heavily in digital technologies to offer a free, easy-to-use service for delivery of repeat prescriptions ordered online.
“Patients who make use of the in-store service will be required to pay for delivery should they require it, with exceptions in place to cover our most vulnerable patients in circumstances where their care necessitates delivery.”