An outraged Irvine resident has blasted Boots the Chemist over “disgusting” delivery charges on prescriptions.

The woman, who has asked not to be named, says Boots’ new policy to charge £5 per prescription delivered or £55 for 12 months of deliveries is discriminating against the elderly and infirm.

She told the Times: “This cost is targeting and discriminating the infirm, vulnerable and elderly in our communities.

“This is utterly disgusting. Who has that kind of money to spare these days?

“In Scotland our prescriptions are free but now elderly infirm and vulnerable who cannot collect them, have now to pay. It’s totally unethical.

“We are talking about a small fraction of the community who rely on this service, Boots won’t fall apart at the seams by delivering their prescriptions for free. The bottom line is someone at Boots is looking to trim costs and they are starting with our vulnerable, infirm and elderly. There are small independent chemists local who have provided this service for years and they have no sudden need to charge.”

However Boots say the charge came in to place in July for new patients but is being rolled out to existing patients as of September 30.

A spokesman said: “Boots recently launched an online repeat prescription service, which includes free postal delivery for all patients.

“For patients who wish to have their prescriptions delivered from store, rather than from the online service, Boots has begun charging for delivery for new patients.

“Patients can choose to pay a one-off fee of £5 for delivery or subscribe to 12 months of deliveries for £55.

“Boots will continue to provide a free delivery service from store where this is a clinical need, or an emergency delivery is needed, including those who are receiving end of life or palliative care.”

Richard Bradley from Boots added: “Community pharmacy is unquestionably facing challenges and we need to adapt our offer to respond. As a result, we have invested heavily in digital technologies to offer a free, easy-to-use service for delivery of repeat prescriptions ordered online. Patients who make use of the in-store service will be required to pay for delivery should they require it, with exceptions in place to cover circumstances where a patients’ care necessitates delivery.”