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Lloydspharmacy blames rising rents for closure of health centre branch

Lloydspharmacy has warned a national trend of rising rental costs is putting pharmacies at risk, as it announces the closure of one of its branches.

The branch in Weston Favell Health Centre, Northampton, will close at the end of October “as a result of NHS Property Services doubling our rental price”, Toby Anderson, chief executive of Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK, announced last Friday (August 2).

This is “despite us having shared evidence that...we are operating at a loss”, he stressed.

The “difficult decision” to close the pharmacy is indicative of a “national trend” affecting the whole sector, Mr Anderson added.

“The rising cost of property rental, combined with other costs pressures, means community pharmacies are increasingly forced to close their doors.

“Pharmacies often don’t get the same preferential rates that other healthcare professionals, like GPs and dentists do,” he claimed.

“Fundamentally at odds with NHS aim”

“We strongly believe that reducing access to an appointment-free, convenient healthcare service in the community – which unlocks capacity for GPs and enables patients with minor ailments to be seen immediately – is fundamentally at odds with the NHS’s ambitions to improve patient care,” Mr Anderson stressed.

“Indeed, it risks patients losing out directly, as some over-the-counter treatments are no longer prescribed in GP practices, meaning some people will now have to travel to find the treatment they need.”

Lloydspharmacy will look to redeploy the affected staff at the Weston Favell Health Centre to other branches, Mr Anderson said.

Lloydspharmacy closed or sold 182 branches between October 2017 and September 2018 (view their locations here). McKesson announced in May that it expects to close further pharmacies in Europe.

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