Patients of the UK’s largest NHS-approved online pharmacy have been left in the lurch over Christmas after the online outfit announced weeks of prescription delays.

Pharmacy2U, which was slapped with a £130,000 fine for selling customer data in October 2015, cited the transfer to a new automated facility as the reason for the hold-up.

Daniel Lee, managing director and superintendent pharmacist of Pharmacy2U, said: “We apologise that unforeseen difficulties in transferring our prescription dispensing service to our new automated facility has led to unexpected delays for some orders.

“Our experienced dispensary team are working 24 hours a day over the festive period to continue the service and dispatch medication as quickly as possible.”

Patients placing new orders for NHS repeat medications may not receive a delivery until the week commencing 11 January 2016.

Lee said: “Our customer services team are also contacting all patients who had already placed their order to let them know about the issue and offer assistance.

“We have made NHS England and the General Pharmaceutical Council aware of this situation, and have put measures in place to help patients obtain medication elsewhere where necessary.”

Pharmacy2U previously hit the headlines after it was fined £130,000 for unlawfully selling the personal details of 21,500 patients to companies including one that was under investigation for fraud.