Pharmacies that put together pill boxes for their patients must be ‘appropriately’ remunerated, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) has said.

The organisation is calling on ICSs and local commissioners to start funding the provision of multi-compartment compliance aids (MCCAs) which they claim is often ‘time-consuming’ for pharmacy teams.

This comes after the BBC reported that some Boots pharmacies had told some patients on multiple drugs that they can no longer have blister pack boxes.

The decision made by some stores sparked frustration among patients, families, carers and healthcare workers who are left with the prospect of managing the administration of medicines themselves.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of AIMp, agreed it was vital that patients for whom this service is suitable can continue accessing it.

However, for this to be possible, the service must be funded.

She said: ‘Putting together these packs is time-consuming and costly for community pharmacies and is not separately remunerated.

‘The local care commissioners are switching prescriptions from weekly, which is required for pill boxes, to monthly and two monthly to save costs.

‘This lack of funding is exacerbated by the current workforce challenges faced by many community pharmacies,’ she explained.

Dr Hannbeck urged local care commissioners and ICSs to ‘take this public service more seriously than has been the case’ and to ‘listen to our [pharmacists] concerns’.

She added: ‘Despite these challenges, AIMp believes that the investment needed to put this right is small compared to the huge gains for patients, families, and the wider NHS and social care system’.

Boots UK told The Pharmacist that has not implemented a new policy to remove blister pack provision for their patients.

'Our pharmacists assess their individual circumstances and clinical needs to come up with the right support for them. These conversations are patient-led,' a spokespersons said.

Meanwhile, the latest Royal Pharmaceutical Society guidance says that the use of multi-compartment compliance aids is not the most appropriate option for patients that need support to take their medicines at the right dose and time.

The guidance concludes there is ‘limited evidence’ to suggest that aids benefit patients and instead, can sometimes cause harm.

‘Patients who can safely self-administer their medicines should be encouraged to do so, and where they are unable to do so, there must be appropriate training for carers so that they are able to administer medicines from original packaging,’ it said.