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'Difficult' Lloydspharmacy decision to charge for screening and tests

Lloydspharmacy has made the “difficult, but necessary” decision to start charging patients for diabetes screening and blood pressure tests, C+D can exclusively reveal.

As of yesterday (May 22), patients are being charged £5 for diabetes screening and £3 to have their blood pressure checked. Customers who pay for one of these services will receive a £5 voucher when they next spend £15.

The multiple will periodically run campaigns – such as Diabetes Week in June – where these services will be made free of charge for a set time, it stressed.

Nigel Swift, retail and marketing director of Lloydspharmacy parent company McKesson UK, said he is “proud” that the company has delivered more than two million type 2 diabetes and blood pressure checks “completely free of charge”.

“However, with continuing pressure to make efficiencies, this model has become unsustainable for us,” he told C+D.

“We understand that this change may take some time to get used to for our customers, but it’s not a decision we have taken lightly,” he added.

“Many businesses continue to feel the impact of funding reductions – and all are having to make tough, but necessary, commercial decisions.”

“The stark reality is that we need to be commercially sustainable in order to continue to provide the best possible care to our patients.”

When asked by C+D how the multiple predicted charging for these services would impact uptake, Mr Swift said: “Where possible, we will signpost customers to alternative free services – which we understand may impact the number of services that we deliver.”

You can read Mr Swift’s full explanation to C+D for charging patients for these services.

It is not the first time Lloydspharmacy has made significant changes to its business model to cope with the funding cuts. The multiple has sold or closed around 200 branches in the past two years (you can see their locations here) and revealed to C+D in January 2018 that it had started charging certain patients for medicines deliveries.

Earlier this month, its parent company cited the funding cuts and “competitive pressures” in the UK as two reasons for a 72% drop in profits across its European business.

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