Saturday 22 July 2017

Proposal to get post offices to deliver medicines

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Niall O'Connor and Charlie Weston

Allowing postmasters to carry out prescription drops, courier deliveries and recycling services has the “potential to ultimately save a number of offices from closure”.

That’s according to a Government working group report which will be presented to the Cabinet next week.

The document, seen by the Irish Independent, details options aimed at saving dozens of post offices from closure.

It says that as a “last resort” the operation of mobile post offices should be considered. This should be seen in the context of bringing “postal services into rural communities which may not be served by a post office”.

Mobile post offices have operated successfully in other jurisdictions for a number of years, the report says, adding that the post office network in the UK includes a fleet of 40 vehicles which serve 250 communities.

But the report goes further, stating that “prescription drops, courier drop off and recycling services” should be on the cards.

Other options put forward by the Post Office Hub Working Group include “shared value and co-location post offices” whereby post offices act as a “hub” for local businesses.

Motor tax, technology training, peace commissioner services and the provision of expert advice would be provided at these one-stop shops.

The working group recommends that a pilot programme be carried out focusing on four post offices, adding that this could be extended to 150 locations over 18 months.

The estimated cost for this is €100,000.

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