In response to patient demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, Well have now doubled the capacity at their online pharmacy, based in their Healthcare Service Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.
Before the pandemic took hold in the UK, Well were seeing approximately 3,000 patients signing up to their online pharmacy each week. In late March, as lockdown was announced, this jumped to a peak of nearly 6,000 patients signing up in just one day.
“It was clear that patient behaviour changed almost overnight,” comments Gill Stone MRPharmS, Regulatory and NHS Standards Lead, Digital Pharmacy. “You just need to look at the numbers. Back in January, we dispensed 42,000 items and had around 400 customer queries a day… but in April the volume of items nearly doubled to 80,000 with up to 2,000 customer queries in a day. This wasn’t just a busy time, it was like nothing we, or the profession, had ever seen before.
“So that we were able to manage the expectations of those people who wanted to use the service, we took the responsible decision to pause sign ups and introduce a waiting list for patients wanting to register. We responded to this massive surge in demand, with additional resource in our Customer Service Team to provide support for our patients and by introducing an additional shift to deal with patients’ orders – effectively doubling our capacity.” Gill continues, “With so many patients still shielding and in isolation, we’re not expecting this demand to drop off anytime soon as we all adapt to the new world we find ourselves in.”