The Co-op has launched a digital app which allows patients to order repeat prescriptions directly to their doors or from any pharmacy in England, it announced last week (16 May).

The Co-op Health app officially launched on Saturday (18 May), comes almost five years after it sold its pharmacy chain and allows patients in England to order their prescriptions directly from their GP.

Patients will be able to have their medication dispensed by any pharmacy in the country or from Co-op Health’s new pharmacy distribution centre in Lea Green, North West England.

The distribution hub will deliver prescription items directly to patients’ homes, work or any other address in the UK for free.

According to the Co-op, the app already covers 67% of England, a figure that is set to increase to 98% by the end of the year.

In September last year, the group acquired healthcare technology start-up Dimec, which developed the app, for an undisclosed sum.

The 30,000 users of the Dimec app will be automatically updated to the Co-op Health app before the end of May 2019, the Co-op said.


‘Just the start’


The Co-op has also announced a series of other digital developments from its new health business.

The group will trial the ‘UK’s first’ click and collect lockers for prescriptions at five of its food stores in the North West ‘in the coming weeks’, it said.

Patients will be able to collect their prescriptions from the secure lockers with a unique code or pin.

The Co-op also plans to expand its Health app to enable patients to book and manage GP appointments ‘by the end of the year’, a spokesperson told The Pharmacist.

Managing director of Co-op Health Tim Davies said: ‘This app is just the start for our health business.

‘We know 40% of the financial burden on the NHS is due to preventable diseases and as we grow our health business we want to put the emphasis on proactive health care and empower people to take control of their own wellbeing.’

The Co-op recently launched a ‘health station’ pilot at six of its food stores in Manchester, trialling machines ‘aimed at helping people recognise the key risk factors impacting health’.

People can record their weight, height and BMI, measure their blood pressure and get digital advice on how to improve their health for free, the mutual said.

Co-op CEO Steve Murrells said: ‘The launch of Co-op Health takes us back into a sector we know well and one where our difference can be felt.

‘By harnessing the power of our digital and physical assets, we will deliver a range of distinctive Co-op Health solutions that will benefit our members and their communities alike.’

In 2014, the mutual sold its bricks and mortar Co-operative Pharmacy business to Bestway Group for £620m, which rebranded the chain as Well Pharmacy following a £200m investment programme.