A NORTH Wales MS has demanded that a Welsh Government minister explain why delivery charges are being imposed on the prescriptions of vulnerable constituents.

Llyr Gruffydd, of Plaid Cymru, has spoken out in the Senedd after it was revealed that a man from Rhyl may go without medication because of the introduction of delivery charges.

Mr Gruffydd told the Minister for North Wales, Lesley Griffiths that it “undermines” the policy of free prescriptions in Wales and that the “inevitable upshot” is that vulnerable people won’t be “receiving the medicines that they need”.


Rhyl man may go without medication as pharmacy to add delivery charges

MS ‘alarmed’ as delivery costs may cause Rhyl man to miss medication

The resident, who asked not to be named, was told by Wellington Road Pharmacy that, from March 1, he would have to pay either £4 per delivery, or an annual fee of £40.

The Rhyl resident who says his medical conditions, such as agoraphobia and other issues, mean he is unable to pick up his prescription from the pharmacy himself, has warned that it could “put lives at risk” if the practice of imposing delivery charges becomes widespread.

Mr Gruffydd will be meeting Lee Browne, managing director of Camella Healthcare Limited, which runs the pharmacy, this month to discuss the matter.

He has urged the company to change its policy to exempt those who cannot pick up their prescription because of a medical condition from deliver charges.

Mr Browne has defended the move, arguing that it is “necessary” because of rising costs.

Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “May I ask for a statement from the health minister on the issue of charging for delivering prescriptions from pharmacies?

“It's entirely reasonable to charge in a scenario where an individual can't be bothered to collect a prescription, but I've been contacted by some people in my region who, because of their medical condition, can't go and fetch their prescriptions, and have now found that they are required to pay for that.

“In the first instance, many of them can't afford to do so, and the inevitable upshot of that is that they will not, therefore, be receiving the medicines that they need.

“And that, of course, undermines the policy that we're all proud of, that prescriptions are free of charge in Wales.

“So, I think we need some clarity from the Minister on what the Government expects from pharmacies: do the pharmacists or the individuals trying to access prescriptions need support?

“And I think we need more consistency across Wales, because in some areas they charge, and in others they don't.”

Lesley Griffiths MS said: “I will certainly ask the minister to provide some clarity via a written statement.

“You're absolutely right that the whole point of having that policy of free prescriptions is to keep people well and to make sure that those who are employed are able to stay in employment.

“If we do have this disparity, I think you're quite right; you don't want to see that inconsistency or a postcode lottery, where you have some areas charging.

“So, I will certainly ask the health minister to bring forward a written statement with that clarity.”