Co-op Health's digital repeat prescription app

380 words approx. 3.5 minutes to read

Tim posted back in December that Co-op is returning to healthcare. I’m so pleased to be part of the team launching Co-op Health’s first service.

Co-op Health’s new app allows users in England to order your repeat prescription online with ease and to have it delivered straight to your door, or your local Co-op store. You can even select Co-op Health as your dispenser so my team and I can take care of absolutely everything for you.

Helping the NHS, helping you

When we explored the challenges in the world of health today, there was one area which stood out, preventative care. For example, did you know, over 40% of the financial burden on the NHS is due to preventable diseases, yet currently only 4% of our health budget is spent on prevention?

There’s another issue too. Each year the NHS spends £8 billion on repeat prescriptions, it’s second biggest cost after staff costs. But, £100 million of this is lost on unwanted or misordered medicine and this level of waste will only grow as our population ages and as more people succumb to preventable diseases.

So, we want to enter the health space in a way that addresses pressures on the NHS today and looks to reduce those pressures in the future, whilst helping our users take more control over their own health. That means we’ll be working on a number of fronts:

  1. using our digital and physical presence to give our users control of their health needs
  2. making ordering repeat prescriptions easier for you and more efficient for the NHS
  3. connecting directly to your GP surgery to prevent misordering
  4. continually learning from our users to develop new services

Where can you use Co-op Health’s repeat prescription service?

At the moment we’re connected to around two-thirds of GP’s in England, we expect to have full coverage by the end of the year. To discover more and find out how to download Co-op Health for your mobile device, visit

Rachael Clarke
Chief Superintendent Pharmacist

Read more on innovation at our Co-op:


Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. Back in May my seeking re-assurance that my GP practice could handle the Co-Op system received a detailed and convincing response from Rachel Clark. I have tried many timae by many means to contact her (also on professional digital health matters) as although an enthusiast for what the scheme seems to be, I must be sure that my reasonably large and sophisticated Oxford practice can interface. No one on staff at Bury Knowle had heard of C0-op scheme even in late July and sent me around in circles back to the co-op whose several departments (found via website sent me all over the place) Head office even stated “we don’t have anything to do with coop health care and pointed me again to which as I had stated doesn’t work!
    I still seek assurances before risking asking hte Co-Op system to re-direct my online prescription sent (incoveniently) to just one Boots branch. I am ever hopeful!

  2. My reply was to Co op member who posted at 10.03. Thank you Rachel for spearheading the drive for the Co op online prescription service.

  3. What is different? I order my repeat prescriptions on line. Within 3 days they arrive at my door at a suitable time for me. Easy peasy. So my input amounts to just ticking a few boxes.

  4. My doctors surgery already has an online mobile app where I can order repeat prescriptions and have them delivered to a choice of local area pharmacies, free of charge, I can collect them within walking distance at my convenience, if I used your service surely I would need to be at home to accept delivery at a time which may not be reliably guaranteed. I doubt it would be responsible to leave prescriptions in a safe place like general postal deliveries in a porch for example.
    There is no mention of cost I notice.

  5. This is just another on line Pharmacy to take business away from traditional pharmacy. You are just doing the easy job of filling prescriptions. What about the extra services traditional pharmacies do. I.e.measuring and fitting stockings and trusses,giving advice on meds when handing out to patients, diabetes,blood pressure ,Uti,and cholesterol testing,minor ailments service, Murs,nms, blister pack dispensing.ehc,nrt
    You will say traditional pharmacies will do all these jobs but they only exist because they do all these things. For instance 200 boots pharmacies are to close. You take the prescriptions away more will close
    Is it ethical to dispense on-line for meds which are needed immediately such as antibiotics, and the patient has to wait for a delivery

    • Hi Roger

      As lifestyles change so do the ways in which people choose to access services, healthcare being one of these.

      Over recent years, many industries and services have responded to this change in demand, unfortunately, those that have failed to innovate have, in many cases, failed to survive. The pharmacy industry has been largely shielded from the economic downturn of recent years, and despite much encouragement, has largely failed to innovate. Unfortunately, this is now being reflected in that fact that many longstanding names in the industry are having to make very difficult decisions as business models reliant on bricks and mortar no longer stack up in certain cases.

      As I make very clear in my earlier responses, digital healthcare solutions will never replace face to face care but they provide an option for people that want, and are able, to use. The NHS says that this means that those people that do need face to face care, can receive a better experience.

      Our pharmacy complies fully with all legal, regulatory and professional requirements and the role of the pharmacist is just as important. Our regulator has recently issued new standards that apply specifically to pharmacies providing services at a distance, and these help to make sure that all online pharmacies are providing the high standard of care that our customers deserve.

      I hope this helps to allay some of your concerns.


      • What about a patient who is on class one drugs??
        Can this be set u through any COOP store,even though they have no pharmacist?

  6. could you provide the reference, ta.
    “According to research carried out by the NHS, using NHS Online Services to order prescriptions has the following benefits:”

    the term “app” is used. I assume this therefore does not include users of conventional desktop PCs?

    • Hi Dave

      The benefits I mention are taken directly from an NHS England Publication aimed at GP’s to help them encourage people to use NHS Online Services.

      Because of the secure NHS connection that the service uses, it is currently only available as an app (on smartphone or tablet).


  7. Read it all and still don’t get the benefit. Currently I order my repeat prescription online, GP approves it electronically and sends it to pharmacy electronically. (Any pharmacy I choose). Then a couple of days later I pop in to the pharmacy to collect my meds. How does the Co op service simplify the GP’s work? How does it encourage patients not to stockpile? How does it benefit the NHS? I guess the delivery service would be a benefit if I wanted to use it. But I prefer to keep my local shops (Co op and pharmacy included) alive by using them.

    • Hi Janey

      It’s great if the way that you currently manage your prescriptions and medication is working for you. You’re still free to give our app a go, if you’d like to, and carry on using your local pharmacy. We firmly believe that there will always be a need for face to face care and are fully committed to supporting our communities, that’s why we feature all pharmacies in England on the app.

      The benefits I have talked about are taken directly from NHS England research based on the outcomes that they, GPs and patients have reported.

      Accessing healthcare using traditional models isn’t always convenient for everyone, all of the time. Digital healthcare provides customers with another choice and healthcare is very much, a very individual choice.


  8. Looked like a good idea for me – I travel between friends and family up & down the country. It seems – someone please CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG – that I have to nominate one pick up point… I need to specify where I am a week before asking my GP surgery online for a repeat. If there’s only one pick up point there’s no benefit. My GP already sends script to one and one only location. If I try and change this every couple of months it will go wrong and I dont know where to send until a week before. Is the CoOp system capable of sending routine items to different locations each time? HELP?! many thanks

    • Also want freedom to use pharmacy of choice, take scrip on holiday etc

      • Hi Nicola

        Each time you place an order you can choose a location that works for you, whether that’s a pharmacy (in England) or a delivery address (in the UK). The location can be different each time you place an order.

        I hope you enjoy any holidays you have planned.


    • Hi Peter

      Each time you place an order using the app, you can select a pick up point (or delivery address in the UK) of your choice. So, yes, each time you place an order you can send to a different location each time.

      I hope that helps.


  9. Great article Rachael. Very impressed by what you have all delivered in such a short period of time and I can’t wait to see what is next.

  10. Entering into a market place that is already saturated and perfectly succeeding with main players… again another project for the young ‘hoorays’ to give them something to do and in a couple of years after an extended waste of time and coop investment it will go the way of electrical, garages, department stores,!etc etc…. what a waste of money, our money! As usual blinkers are on and no matter what, coop will be a resounding laughing stock and chalk up another big fat ‘Revd Flowers’ Good Luck, you’ll need it!

    • Can’t help but think you’re right. I’m rarely ill, last time I had a script it was for antibiotics and I was at the hospital which had a Co-op pharmacy on site. I took my slip to them and collected it. I don’t know how repeat prescriptions work. But I guess there’s other companies doing this from adverts on telly, so it begs the question, what’s our difference? Why will people choose us? There’s no mention of the 5+1 or any other membership benefits.

      • Hi Steve

        Our NHS is of the best healthcare systems in the world, yet it is struggling to meet the demands placed on it. The status quo is not sustainable, the NHS must change and innovate if it is going to be able to meet the healthcare needs of an ever changing population.

        We’ve been listening to the NHS, to the government and to the Secretary of State’s vision about using technology and innovation to open up new ways for people to access healthcare and what we’re doing is offering another choice. We support the comments made by Matt Hancock, that digital health services will never replace face to face patient care, there will always be a need for that.

        The NHS has pioneered the technology that powers our app. It’s exactly the same technology that the NHS app itself uses and that makes NHS Online Services possible. The NHS wants people to use this technology so that systems can talk to each other and deliver seamless care. According to research carried out by the NHS, using NHS Online Services to order prescriptions has the following benefits:

        1. More convenient for patients resulting in improved patient satisfaction levels
        2. Improved safety by removing the need to manually transfer information from one system to another, hence minimising the risk of errors being introduced
        3. Reduced costs associated with medicines wastage by encouraging customers to only order the medicines they actually need and avoid stockpiling
        4. Reduced number of phone calls to GP practices from customers placing prescription orders making it quicker and easier for customers to reach the practice
        5. Shorter queues and waiting times in GP practices meaning a better experience for customers that need to access face to face care

        Customers using the Co-op Health app to place prescription orders can choose to have their prescription dispensed from Co-op Health’s pharmacy and delivered to any address in the UK. Alternatively, our app also includes the option for customers to select any other pharmacy in England to dispense their prescription, so for customers that have a local pharmacy that they are happy using, they can continue to do so. We hope that community pharmacies receiving prescriptions ordered using our app will also benefit from the efficiencies experienced in GP surgeries. Co-op Health is a first for the UK market, as we are the only service combining this NHS technology with our own digital pharmacy.

        In terms of our member benefits, NHS regulations prohibit pharmacies from providing rewards to customers in return for choosing to use a particular pharmacy so we are unable to offer rewards purely for using the Co-op Health pharmacy. Instead, we are looking at ways that we could reward members for using our app (regardless of which pharmacy they choose) so there will be more news on this soon.

        In terms of our support for local causes, we will absolutely be supporting our communities as we do across the Group and we’ll be sharing details of this over summer.

        I hope this helps to give you reassurance about our plans for Co-op Health.


    • You are so wrong on so many levels and clearly not living in the 21st century. Online prescriptions are being sought by all the big pharmaceutical retailers and for busy people who are travelling distances every week and often away from their homes and surgeries this service is a gift and much needed. I’m sorry but you are completely out of touch with reality.

      • You are so wrong on so many levels and clearly not living in the 21st century. Online prescriptions are being sought by all the big pharmaceutical retailers and for busy people who are travelling distances every week and often away from their homes and surgeries this service is a gift and much needed. I’m sorry but you are completely out of touch with reality.


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