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Lloydspharmacy sticks with reduced opening times at 100-hour Sainsbury’s branches

Some 100-hour Lloydspharmacy branches located in Sainsbury’s supermarkets will continue to operate temporarily reduced trading hours, the multiple has told its staff.

In a service update, which was shared on Twitter yesterday evening (January 30) and appears to have been sent by the multiple to staff at the affected branches, Lloydspharmacy said the changes would apply until the end of March.

Lloydspharmacy’s 100-hour branches located in Sainsbury’s supermarkets have been operating on reduced trading hours since November 8 last year.

C+D contacted Lloydspharmacy for comment today (January 31) but it had nothing further to add. 

 

“A direct result of workforce pressures”

 

The service update read: “We are constantly reviewing changes to our trading hours as a direct result of workforce pressures across the business.”

The decision to continue operating with reduced trading hours will help “alleviate the workforce pressures within your store and ensure we can offer pharmaceutical provision to our patients during the reduced trading hours within the week”, the update said.

The trading hours for Sainsbury’s pharmacies that currently operate 100-hour contracts will remain at 09:00-21:00 between Monday and Saturday. Sunday trading hours will remain unchanged.

C+D has asked Lloydspharmacy how many branches located in Sainsbury’s stores will be affected by these measures. 

 

Emergency declaration extended until March

  

The initial changes to Lloydspharmacy’s trading hours in November were enacted under the Advanced and Enhanced Services and Emergency Declaration.

Under the declaration, which was initially due to remain in place until today, contractors in England can make temporary changes to their opening hours if they fulfil a set of requirements.

But last week (January 27), in details published on the NHS Business Services Authority website, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) confirmed the declaration would be further extended until March 31.

This declaration of emergency was first introduced to help maintain pharmacy services during the COVID-19 outbreak. In September last year, it was initially extended until January 31, 2022.

In its communication to staff, Lloydspharmacy wrote that as a result of this new extension, “we have made the decision that we will be applying to the NHS to continue with your current reduced hours”.

C+D has approached NHS England and NHS Improvement and Sainsbury’s for comment.

 

PDA: “Concern” whenever pharmacy access is reduced

 

Commenting on the latest communication from Lloydspharmacy, Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) director Paul Day told C+D today that “patients need access to a pharmacy, so it is a concern whenever this is reduced”.

“The NHS strategy to ask the public to attend a pharmacy for an increasing number of services will not work unless pharmacies are open when they are needed,” he warned.

When Lloydspharmacy first announced the changes to opening hours last year, it pledged not to cut pharmacists’ hours and added that the affected teams still needed to complete the weekly workload within the reduced opening period, Mr Day said.

“We expect that to continue for the remaining period of these temporary reductions,” he added.

The news comes as Boots also told C+D earlier this month that it is planning to “slightly reduce supplementary opening hours” at selected pharmacies where demand is “lower” at certain times.

 

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