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Pharmacy overcomes protest from multiples to open in ‘deprived’ area

An independent pharmacy’s application to open in a “deprived” area has been approved, despite objections from multiples.

Boots, Lloydspharmacy and Rowlands all submitted written objections to the application – originally submitted in February – by Leys Pharmacy superintendent Taofik Shodunke to re-register a former Lloydspharmacy site under his pharmacy group’s name.

Lloydspharmacy had previously confirmed to C+D last December that it would close its branch at the site – 100 Blackbird Leys Road – as part of the 190 “commercially unviable” locations where it was ceasing trading.

NHS England’s pharmaceutical services regulations committee for the area considered arguments from the multiples, the applicant and Thames Valley local pharmaceutical committee before approving Mr Shodunke’s application last month.

“Better access to pharmacy services”

In his application – seen by C+D – Mr Shodunke described the community as “one of the most deprived areas of Oxfordshire, and home to a lot of elderly citizens”. He also claimed it has an increasing black and ethnic minority population – a group he said are “often described as hard-to-reach communities”.

Acknowledging these comments, the regulations committee said “there is evidence of people sharing protected characteristics having difficulty accessing pharmaceutical services” and it was “satisfied” that approving the application would “confer significant benefits of secure improvements and better access to pharmacy services”.

Multiples’ objections

Lloydspharmacy, Rowlands and Boots had separately objected to the application on the basis that the closest pharmacy was 0.3 miles away, with five pharmacies located within one mile of the site.

In a letter from March, Rowlands' NHS contracts manager said: “Given that Lloyds[pharmacy] has closed a well-used pharmacy, we can only assume that there was no need for that pharmacy in that location.”

The pharmaceutical services regulations committee did note that the opening hours – 67 per week – proposed by Mr Shodunke are already being provided by pharmacies in the area and said it was “satisfied” that residents already have a “reasonable choice” of pharmaceutical services.

It also granted the three multiples the right to appeal its decision.

What do you make of the committee's decision?

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