Mark Adair

The Royal Mail delivers strategic investment into pharmacy platform, Charac

Charac, an NHS-integrated, one-stop platform for independent community pharmacies, has today announced it has secured strategic investment from Royal Mail Group, enabling its time-saving platform to assist more local pharmacies and patients across the UK to easily manage their prescriptions and consultations online.

With over 7,200 independent pharmacies unable to offer digital services, Charac’s platform simplifies customer access to local pharmacies by allowing them to skip the queue, save time, and access and re-order all their prescriptions online.

Also, by providing digital consultations with community pharmacists, pressures on the NHS are alleviated, while addressing threats posed by digital competitors, which could see the closure of pharmacies on the high street.

The £1m investment will enable Charac and Royal Mail to leverage the strong levels of trust that postal staff and pharmacists enjoy within the communities they serve and will ensure pharmacies remain a cornerstone of vibrant high streets and an invaluable provider of frontline healthcare products and services, including vitally needed consultations.

As the UK’s sole designated Universal Service Provider, Royal Mail is at the heart of every community and is trusted to deliver to over 31 million addresses across the UK, at least six days a week. Royal Mail already has a strong presence in the healthcare market, delivering the majority of prescriptions which are ordered online.

With over 10,000 patients a week being referred for a booked consultation with a pharmacist following a call to NHS 111 and GPs caring for 2,200 patients each due to staffing shortages (up 10% in five years), there has never been a more crucial time for pharmacists and patients to benefit from relationship-building technology.

Once registered with Charac, customers will be able to manage existing repeat prescriptions, message their pharmacist, schedule future activities, such as annual flu vaccinations, and browse the various services on offer from their pharmacy - all from the comfort of home and on their preferred device.

Charac aims to sign up over 1,000 UK pharmacies in the next 12 months by expanding its geographic footprint beyond current cities, including London, Manchester and Birmingham, and targeting small multiple and independent pharmacies, accounting for almost 40 per cent of the UK’s pharmacies.

The announcement also sees the addition of Stefan Kulik, managing director for Royal Mail’s Health division, to the Charac board. Stefan is responsible for leading Royal Mail’s expansion into the healthcare industry and brings a breadth of experience, having worked in healthcare, with companies including Johnson & Johnson.

Stefan Kulik, managing director of Royal Mail Health, and board member, Charac added, “This is an exciting time to be working alongside Charac to enable pharmacies to provide patients and consumers with greater access to prescriptions and appointments through their local healthcare professionals. “

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