LloydsPharmacy will cease trading in approximately 190 stores in England, an official document leaked to Twitter confirms. The document was reportedly sent to all branches today.
Across the UK there are more than 1500 pharmacies and the company employs 17,000 staff.
Express.co.uk has asked how many jobs are likely to be lost. Currently, Celesio UK has only announced it will shut a combination of store closures and divestments, accord to The Pharmacist publication.
Celesio UK toldExpress.co.uk it is “engaged in an active process to try and find alternative options for the 190 stores which includes divestment.” The representative added it was too early for any further details.
Pharmacist Thorrun Govind told Express.co.uk: “I saw the statement after it was posted on a pharmacist’s group. After asking other pharmacists, I found out it had been emailed to all branches today.
“It’s disappointing for pharmacies and patients, because it’s reducing access to a qualified healthcare professional, to medicines and to advice. This increases pressure on other parts of the NHS. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. If you cut the funding, patients lose out.”
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE STATEMENT
Lloyds Pharmacy: Various shops will be shut down
Lloyds Pharmacy: This is a document posted to Twitter by a former member of LloydsPharmacy staff
LloydsPharmacy: The store confirmed the closures to a Twitter user
Lloyds Pharmacy: They confirmed on their Twitter account they couldn’t share specific store details
We will do all we can to support our affected colleagues
Cormac Tobin, managing director, Celesio UK, said: “Changes to government policy on reimbursement and retrospective clawbacks over the past two years have gradually made operations at many LloydsPharmacy stores commercially unviable.
We will be doing all that we can to support our affected colleagues and minimise disruption for patients.
“As a company we pride ourselves on putting the customer first by constantly finding new ways to evolve in order to achieve excellence in quality, safety and efficiency for the NHS. We look forward to working with the Department of Health and NHS England in the future to ensure that we can shape a new framework which allows us to invest, innovate and continually improve our service to patients.
“With pressures in the economic and funding landscape it is vital that we take a leading role in the evolution of community pharmacy, to ensure that our business is sustainable for the future.
“We firmly believe that community pharmacy is part of the solution to increasing capacity in other parts of the NHS.
“We recognise pharmacy needs to adapt to changing societal trends and take advantage of the opportunities digitalisation offers patients.
“To achieve this we need a new operational framework that meets the future needs of patients by creating a thriving pharmacy network that continues to offer essential integrated healthcare that is rooted in local communities. Nonetheless we must respond to the dramatic reimbursement cuts over the past 24 months.
BREAKING: @LloydsPharmacy to close 190 English pharmacies due to cuts and cat M clawback. Looks like multiples are also being hit by cuts
— The Pharmacist (@Pharmacist_News) October 26, 2017
Good luck to all the Lloydspharmacy Area Managers that find out today who’s still got a job – we’re thinking of you!
— Xrayser (@Xrayser) October 26, 2017
Funding drops have cut a swathe through community pharmacies in England. If 2nd-largest company is crumbling others will also be struggling https://t.co/6REWbYG7kT
— Thomas Cox (@CandDThomas) October 26, 2017
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“Although this is a difficult day for some of our colleagues, this also presents an opportunity for us to set ourselves up for the future and build our reputation as a trusted partner of the NHS.
“This is the beginning of a transformation for our business that will combine the accessibility of our physical pharmacies and their teams, the customer convenience of digital channels and harness the skills of our people to provide a broader range of healthcare in people’s homes, communities or wherever they need it.”
Celesio UK currently comprises LloydsPharmacy, AAH Pharmaceuticals, Evolution Homecare, LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare, Masta, Online Doctor and Betterlife.
Express.co.uk asked LloydsPharmacy which stores will be closing down. They replied with a statement saying: “We are ceasing to trade in approximately 190 pharmacies through a mixture of closures and divestments. We are engaged in an active process to try and find alternative options for these stores which includes divestment.
“This is an ongoing process, therefore it’s too early to give any further details. What we can say, is that both the employees of the stores and the local communities are cared for as a priority.
“As I’m sure you will understand, we must ensure our impacted colleagues are advised about this level of detail before external interested parties.
“We are keen to ensure that impacted colleagues are treated with respect and courtesy throughout this time.”
Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said: “Community pharmacy is facing severe financial pressures following the imposition of funding cuts last year and margin reductions in the summer. In these circumstances large businesses such as LloydsPharmacy can undertake comprehensive analyses of their pharmacies’ viability. This decision to make large scale closures indicates the very grave impact that the imposed funding cuts are having now.
“PSNC has been warning of the very real threat to pharmacy services and met the Minister, Steve Brine, on Monday 23 October. We highlighted to him the severity of the funding position and the precarious position which many pharmacies find themselves in; and we discussed the need to understand and protect the vital services to patients that community pharmacies provide.
“We hope this news will persuade the Minister of the need to take urgent action to restructure funding and services.”
A Department of Health spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “There are almost 12,000 private community pharmacies in England, one thousand more than in 2010 and these closures represent just 1.6% of the total.
“40 per cent of pharmacies are within 10 minutes’ walk of two or more other pharmacies and we’re making sure patients in areas with fewer services continue to have access to a pharmacist.”