How Far Do People Travel to Collect Their Prescriptions?

Have you ever had to wait days before you have the time to go and pick up a prescription? This isn’t as unusual as you might think – our busy lifestyles mean that it’s harder to find the time to travel to a pharmacy before it closes.

Whether you’re fighting a bug or you need to pick up a repeat prescription, it can be inconvenient to find a pharmacy nearby that opens during hours that suit your schedule.

This got us thinking, how far do people actually travel to find that green cross signalling a pharmacy on the horizon? We thought we’d do some research…

Our Methodology

First of all, we carefully selected the factors in which we could conduct our research on. Looking at the pharmacies within England, we took into consideration:

  • The spread of GPs and their respective pharmacy outlets
  • The time it would take to get to and from these
  • A focus on some of the major cities
  • Convenience aspects e.g. opening hours

Here’s what we found, including regional data and a breakdown by region.

Regions: Average Distance Travelled to a Pharmacy

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We looked at the average distance travelled to reach a pharmacy in each of the following regions of London, South East, South West, South Central, East Anglia, Midlands, North East and North West.

From our sample data, we found that Londoners were the nearest to their local pharmacies, travelling only 2.6* miles on average to pick up their medical prescriptions.

Regional findings:

  • South West England – 6.6 miles
  • South East England – 5.3 miles
  • North West – 5.2 miles
  • North East – 4.0 miles
  • South Central England – 3.9 miles
  • East Anglia – 3.8 miles
  • Midlands – 3.0 miles
  • London – 2.6 miles

So, the data shows that it’s in South West England where it’s the least convenient to fall ill. But is there anywhere in this region where it’s a particular pain to pick up a prescription? We decided to dig deeper into this region’s data.

Within the South West, those from Cornwall had to travel a massive 7.8 miles to reach their nearest pharmacy, on average… Certainly not ideal for the Cornish population! In comparison, residents of Wilshire, Dorset and Bristol, only had to travel 2.2 miles, 3.3 miles and 3.5 miles respectively.

South West England county findings:

  • Cornwall – 7.8 miles
  • Gloucestershire – 5.8 miles
  • Devon – 5.7 miles
  • Somerset – 4.9 miles
  • Bristol – 3.5 miles
  • Dorset – 3.3 miles
  • Wiltshire – 2.2 miles

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Looking purely at city level, however, it’s the residents in Plymouth who must travel the furthest – with a staggering 7.5-mile journey, on average.

City Breakdown: Which City Dwellers Travel the Furthest?

It makes sense that those living in more urban areas would have better access to pharmacies, as well as enjoying better opening hours. That’s why we expected that, as residents of our bustling capital city, Londoners would travel the least. However, the data from the city breakdown showed otherwise.

First, let’s have a look at the five cities who travel the furthest:

  • Plymouth – 7.5 miles
  • Exeter – 7.0 miles
  • Oxford – 5.1 miles
  • Southampton – 4.5 miles
  • Leicester – 3.9 miles

The cities who ranked mid-table:

  • Leeds – 3.8 miles
  • Bath – 3.7 miles
  • Newcastle – 3.6 miles
  • Nottingham – 3.6 miles
  • Bristol – 3.5 miles

The ten cities who have to travel the least:

  • Essex – 3.0 miles
  • Liverpool – 2.8 miles
  • Birmingham – 2.7 miles
  • Cambridge – 2.6 miles
  • London – 2.6 miles
  • Coventry – 2.4 miles
  • Manchester – 2.4 miles
  • Sheffield – 2.4 miles
  • Wolverhampton – 2.3 miles
  • Derby – 2.2 miles

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As you can see, there’s quite a sizeable 5.3-mile difference between Derby, the lucky city that’s the closest to their pharmacies, and Plymouth, whose residents have to drive for around 15 minutes each way to pick up their prescriptions!

Prescriptions Delivered to Your Door

So, picking up a medical prescription is not as easy as you might initially think. For those who can’t drive to their nearest pharmacy, or who can’t find time outside of their work schedules to meet the opening times, picking up a prescription could be a total inconvenience.

That’s where we come in. Here at Pharmacy2U we take care of your NHS repeat prescriptions and deliver them right to your door, free of charge. When you register with us, you can cut out the travel time entirely, as well as enjoy our free reminder service.

Gone are the days of waiting days to find a time convenient to visit your local pharmacy, or the last-minute panic when you realise you need a repeat prescription!

Image courtesy of iStock

*The distance factor used in all examples is between GP and pharmacy, and therefore the distances given may not always be the distance travelled by the patient.

Pharmacy2U By Pharmacy2U Published 11/07/2017