Summary of report content
Healthwatch Luton undertook a review of information on local pharmacies websites after receiving a number of pieces of feedback in 2020 about pharmacies. Given that GP surgeries are providing fewer face to face appointments during the Covid-19 pandemic, they wanted to assess information on websites to allow people to decide whether it was worth visiting the pharmacy. They looked at the websites of 46 pharmacies in Luton between mid-December 2020 and mid-January 2021.
Less than a quarter of pharmacies reviewed had their own website. A further 26% linked to NHS website pages and 41% had websites that were part of a parent company or group of pharmacies, either national, or more localised.
It was hard to ascertain when some websites were last updated and of those that were updated the update dates varied, from October 2019 to January 2021. Where there was no information about coronavirus and no date, it was assumed they had not been updated since March 2020 at least.
Forty-six per cent of websites had information about coronavirus and details of any changes to their way of working. Two stated they were able to complete Covid swab tests. When looking at information for vulnerable patients, 22% of pharmacies provided this through their websites.
Three in six websites contained information about prescriptions was available on some of the websites. Of these, 61% stated they offered a prescription collection service at the current time and 59% stated they offered a delivery service.
Over three in five pharmacy websites had information on flu vaccination and there was flu information and guidance on 45% of websites. Travel vaccination information could be found on 63% of websites, with some stating information about travel clinics where advice could also be given to ensure the correct vaccines were given.
Over half of websites offered an appointment service for people to book to seek advice or minor medical assistance from the trained staff in the pharmacy. Others stated there was no need to book an appointment and it worked on a ‘drop in’ basis. On 14% of websites, there was information about what to do in an emergency or out of hours. Information about how to make complaints or compliments was available on 40% of websites. There were further ‘contact us pages’ on other websites. None of the websites reviewed contained information about how to contact Healthwatch Luton. Legally, all NHS providers should have the contact information to the local Healthwatch on
The report contains three recommendations about including information about Healthwatch Luton, the need for all pharmacies to have a website and providing complaint information.