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Central fill pharmacy

We are gradually rolling out a new system in our pharmacies which will see the majority of prescriptions fulfilled by a central fill pharmacy, based in Lincoln. Find out more below.

Where are my prescriptions being dispensed now?

To allow our colleagues in branch more time to deliver community health services, we have introduced a central fill system.

This is based at our pharmacy warehouse in Lincoln and manned by a team of Lincolnshire Co-op colleagues, including a pharmacist and accuracy checking technician.

Your prescription medication has always come from our pharmacy warehouse – the only difference is the labelling, assembling, checking, and bagging is now also done in the central fill area of the warehouse.

Not all prescriptions go through the central fill system, some are still dispensed in branch.

Why are prescriptions not being dispensed in my local branch?

Community pharmacy is an important NHS service. We provide a huge number of health services now, including health checks, flu vaccinations, smoking cessation, the New Medicine Service and all the advice and support our teams give daily.

We are also being asked to deliver more and more services, such as extended care services like sexual health, ear pain, infected insect bites and more.

Moving some of the dispensing to the central fill system helps us ease the load on our colleagues and frees up time for them to spend with patients.

Why are some prescriptions still dispensed in branch?

There are a number of prescriptions still being dispensed in branch.

These include:

  • Urgent/items identified by the prescriber as ‘acute’
  • Some items requiring special storage (such as controlled drugs and fridge items)
  • Prescription items with a quantity to be made up from splitting packs of medicine
  • Dressings
  • Food supplement drinks

Are the medications checked in the same way?

The prescriptions are checked multiple times throughout the process including by a pharmacist and a checking technician overseeing the central fill system.

Will the text system still work?

The text service will no longer work for patients who get their prescriptions through the central system. We are working towards a Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacy app, which will notify patients when their prescription is ready.

The app will also allow patients to reorder their medicines direct from their GP surgery and book appointments for pharmacy services that are being offered.

Will I have to wait longer for my prescription?

We aim to fulfil prescriptions within three working days once we have them from GPs. This will not change.

Why does my prescription arrive in a plastic bag now?

We need to use bags to group medications together and, for patient confidentiality as medication can display personal details.

The machinery in the central fill system doesn’t use the old-style paper prescription bags.

Instead, it used bags made of 100% recycled plastic. These bags can be recycled through soft plastic recycling services, including those in most Lincolnshire Co-op food stores. You can also find other services on the Recycle Now website. The bags could also be reused, for example as post bags or bathroom bin liners.

Using 100% recycled plastics for the bags reduces the need for resources which would be used to generate new plastics and prevents the plastic from going to landfill or into oceans. Our sustainability team advises that it is more energy efficient to generate a bag using existing recycled plastics than it is to generate a bag from new plastics or even paper.

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