By Rachael Clarke, Pharmacy Superintendent, Co-op Health
This weekend, at our AGM, will be the big moment we officially launch Co-op Health – an exciting, new Co-op business that will be able to support our millions of customers and members to better look after their health.
We’re starting with Pharmacy, and while Co-op has worked in pharmacy before, this time it’s different. With none of the ties and costs of bricks and mortar, our new business is digital and innovative and able to adapt quickly to what patients need.
I’ve been a pharmacist for 14 years, and the market is changing. 80% of the prescriptions dispensed in England are repeat orders, and less than 1% of them are through a digital pharmacy. This is set to grow significantly in the future, so there’s a huge opportunity in the market. And one that the Co-op can really make a difference in.
Our new Co-op Health app, which we’ve developed following our acquisition of Dimec last year, is unique in the market. It uses a secure NHS connection into the customer’s GP system, meaning that customers can view and order their repeat medication in real time. Through the app, customers can choose to have their medication dispensed by our digital pharmacy (which is in our Lea Green food depot). They can have it posted directly to them, or can select any one of the other pharmacies in England to dispense their medication instead and collect from their chosen pharmacy. Our app is unique as we’re the only ones bringing together this NHS technology with the option of being able to select our digital pharmacy for direct delivery, We’ll also trial the UK’s first secure click and collect lockers for prescriptions in some of our Food stores.
But our app is just the start. We know 40% of the financial burden on the NHS is due to preventable diseases so, as we grow our Health business, we want to make healthcare more accessible, more convenient and to help people to take control of their own wellbeing both now, and in the future.