Pharmacy misery


Record sales for Boots are noted in the papers this week – but alas, our Boots in Rye cannot be contributing to this national success.

Rye Boots has lost its permanent pharmacist and this means it cannot open without a pharmacist in the store.

Pharmacists come and go but for now, there is little to no continuity at Boots and we never know when the store will be open. That said, it is no reflection on the professionalism of the current staff as they cannot work if Boots is closed – it is a sad reflection on the current state of ad-hoc available pharmacists.

For the uninitiated, if you are unable to get your prescription filled at Boots, you can request to have it returned to ‘the Spine’ – the source (backbone?) of all prescriptions which can then be picked up by any chemist or pharmacy.

The crux of the matter remains that if Boots is closed, the staff cannot answer the phone.  If the prescription is not returned to the Spine, it cannot be dispensed. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

The chemist next door to Boots, Day Lewis, remains with a permanent pharmacist and can dispense during weekends, and until 13.00 on Saturdays.

Boots must not close – but if the current state of affairs continues with a lack of a pharmacist, not enough staff and poor opening hours, its revenue will drop.  And that can only mean financial failure.

We need it to remain open!

Image Credits: Nick Forman .

Previous articleWhat’s happening in Cinque Ports Street?
Next articleHoliday lets, farming and Boris vex MP


  1. It is an absolute shame that Boots is closed on Sundays . With thousands of families coming to Camber Sands for their holidays one can expect accidents and for minor ones, they can visit a pharmacy . They now have to travel to Hastings. One does not expect Boots to be open all day but they should provide a service and advertize the Hours of Opening on their window.

    • Might be a good idea to carry a first aid kit. Especially if you concerned about minor accidents. More often than not there is no need to bother pharmacist or pharmacy staff.

  2. We have recently moved our prescriptions from Boots to Day Lewis. I was sending a request to the pharmacy on Monday and hoping to collect it on Saturday. Several times there was a panicked hunt for my prescription and a good 20 to 30 minutes wait while I sat in Boots.
    However, where we live we can almost see Rye Medical Centre, yet are not allowed to collect out medications from there because we live within a mile of the surgery. Who ever came up with this ridiculous idea did not think it through. We don’t mind going into Rye for our medication all the while we are able to but one day we may not be well enough. Allowing us and others within this ‘golden mile’ to use the surgery pharmacy would be the most obvious and sensible solution to what is fast becoming a very difficult situation.

    • We have been with Day Lewis since we moved to Rye nearly 20 years ago and up until 6 months or so ago they were brilliant. However, with the departure of the long standing manager, several times recently the scenario mentioned above was also replicated in Day Lewis. They do seem to have a permanent pharmacist at the moment and are open all day Monday to Friday, half day on Saturday, so seem to be the lesser of two evils. We were, in fact, considering changing to Boots but are now very glad that we didn’t do so. It is worrying that neither pharmacy is operating at 100% efficiency when people are depending on them for essential medication.

  3. I feel a sense of relief to read this story about BOOTS. I thought I was the only one having to tolerate their unprofessionalism. Over and over again I receive a text telling me my prescription is ready for collection, only to go to the chemist and be told they do not have it. I was in there only yesterday waiting for around 20 minutes only to be told yet again they do not have my medication. A gentleman before me was in the same situation despite putting in his request over a week ago. There was the matter a few weeks ago coming up to the Bank Holiday when their computers were down for over 2 days with a Sunday and Monday closure in-between, and they could not dispense prescriptions. I know a couple of people who were forced to go on holiday without their medication because the Boots staff were not allowed to hand over much needed medication thus putting peoples health at risk. It’s not a simple case of collecting meds from another branch. You have to try and ring head office and get approval, and then another branch of Boots has to agree to give you the medication. A potential dystopian nightmare when you’re trying to catch a plane. Someone else called the police for assistance as they were so desperate for their pain relief medication, the staff simply stood on the other side holding the door closed, a woman crying on the street, and a police car with two officers in attendance. For some bizarre reason prepared medication is not stored on the shelves alphabetically by our surnames, so the Boots staff claim they have no way of finding it. Where is the sense in that? And I don’t seem to be seeing familiar faces working in there, the more reliable staff who we may have built up a rapport with and know our medications. We may need Boots to remain open but we also need it to function correctly. This is essential medication we are dealing with not fripperies.

  4. Following on from my previous posting, I’ve just been to Boots again ( Saturday 9th July) to see if they finally have my prescription ready. There’s a sign on the door “Pharmacy closed all day due to no pharmacist”. What is going on? This is now the 4th day without my medication due to their incompetence. It’s time to take my business elsewhere. I don’t think enough people realise Boots, etc, are paid by the NHS for dispensing medication.

  5. Yet again BOOTS the chemist are closed all day due to lack of staff and Rye residents cannot get their medication. And people who need over the counter medication cannot simply go next door due to Day Lewis Pharmacy closing at 1pm. Surely I cannot be the only one to find this utterly ridiculous?

  6. This is a disgrace. Boots is a multi million business, surely they can operate the shop as a shop, should there be no pharmacist. I have lived in this town for over 16 years.
    I have seen staff come and go along with different pharmacists. I see no reason why it should ever be closed and on Sundays.

    I work in the High street and the town is always busy even when it seems quiet. Rye is a gem of charm and attraction.
    However things like this are a pain like having no banks.
    People who visit like to see shops open 7 days a week I work many Sundays and I am thankful to be part of such to help maintain and boost Rye as a place you feel the need to see and embrace the history and the architecture.

    So, with frustrated locals who are tired of Boots lame excuses and of those who have more annual salary than common sense would it not be right to have Boots open regardless? Why are pharmacist’s so hard to come by? This is not a sudden problem, this kind of situation has been around some years along with not enough home grown nurses etc.

    With Rye’s smaller local chemist Horrells (very small). How will it cope with the surge of locals and visitors alike if Boots have these sporadic lapses? It lacks staff, stock and floor space.
    Boots should be fined and be made to do its job properly and not let others suffer.
    And as for Boots exterior the decor needs revamp. It let’s the towns national, even international reputation down. It looks so shabby,

  7. As an aside, my experience is not about Rye, but I now live in a town of maybe 100,000 people. On Friday I realised I hadn’t collected my repeat prescription although I had received a text to say it was ready. The Boots branch attached to my Medical Centre was closed, although an assistant was at the door to say they had no Pharmacist in that day. He helpfully confirmed it had been prepared but he couldn’t give it to me as there was no Pharmacist on site. He could however return the script to me so that I could go elsewhere and I accepted that.
    I took the script to another, larger Boots, only to find that it also was closed. There was a notice on the door saying that there was no Pharmacist there either! I finally found a smaller branch of Boots tucked away on a housing estate and which was open. After some grumbling and cross-questioning my prescription was prepared and handed over. I wonder what will happen to my original prescription, which is presumably still languishing in the original Boots?
    There you have it. Britain’s biggest Pharmacy, owned by a large US company that wants to get rid of its investment here. Meanwhile, it is failing its customers, many vulnerable, across the country.
    Sorry, people of Rye.

  8. Boots – The Bigger picture.
    I am grateful to one of my students who is undertaking a dissertation on Pharmaceutical provision in the UK. The key points are as follows. Boots is owned by the American company Walgreen. Pre – COVID Boots’ profits were in serious decline. While there has been some recovery nevertheless a profits warning was issued.Walgreen had been seeking a buyer. The sale has now been withdrawn as potential buyers were not prepared to pay the asking price. Walgreen are committed to closing some 200 outlets. Significantly while some outlets may stay open Walgreen are to close the pharmaceutical service in some outlets. There are proposals to provide a private pharmaceutical service. Some Boots’ will part from the NHS and supply private prescription medication. The stated aim being to alleviate pressure on the NHS. This will of course mean that those who can afford private care, so avoiding the tiresome business of getting a GP appointment and waiting for the the prescribed medication, will avail themselves of this service. Training has been an issue. Boots have reduced the scale of their in house training. Much store is being placed on University Apprenticeships. However at present this is by no means nationwide and moreover it will take considerable time to train putative pharmacists. At this juncture we need to remind ourselves that Boots is a company and not an adjunct of the NHS. Companies must make profits to satisfy their investors. In Rye we have witnessed the demise of the banks. This could have been prevented by the government threatening to withdraw banking licences unless provision for a community bank was installed. Highly unlikely! It remains to be seen what will become of our Boots. Watch this space!!

  9. Well said Mr Gasson. Boots standing in the high street has been harmed since Walgreen took over but they are fundamentally a business not a charity. Yes there has been the problems due to Covid and things like the retail footfall into the shops. This is down to the public buying online. All of the big retail stores have reduced staff levels be it the chemist, the bank, the grocer etc. It is important to realise that the problems are due to decisions made at Head Office and not in store. The shop staff would be happy to keep open and serve the public in the professional way they have in the past but they do not make the decisions. Lets face it they would welcome the opportunity to work in a way where they are not constantly verbally abused by the general public. The store cannot open if there is not a Pharmacist on site and the store would not be advised to the morning of the day concerned if they would be without. This has been impacted by the mass exodus of Pharmacists due change of working conditions. So lets support the staff and let head office know our concerns

  10. Its ironic that they havn’t had a pharmacist as unless its changed recently there was / is a glut of qualified pharmacists . We know a young man who qualified and couldn’t get a permanent job as a pharmacist . Maybe its all different now ? Anyone know ?

    Boots however sell far more than drugs and so I don’t understand why it cannot open but simply not sell items requiring a pharmacist ? It should be possible to train the staff to know what they can and cannot sell in the absence of one.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here