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Former Rowlands pharmacy in Swindon re-opens this week following NHS ruling

A former Rowlands branch in Swindon has re-opened under new ownership this week following a ruling by NHS Resolutions, it has announced.

Rodbourne Pharmacy announced via a Facebook post last week (9 January) that it would open for the public to “pop in” over the weekend before officially opening for sales and prescriptions yesterday (January 16).

It said: “We will be opening our doors on Saturday January 14 at 10am for you to pop in, have a tea or coffee, and sign up to us if you wish!

“We will then be open for sales and prescriptions at 9am on Monday January 16.”

Read more: Swindon pharmacy saved as NHS rules former Rowlands site should re-open

The pharmacy will open 9am to 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

“Please let us know what services and products you would like to see available,” it said. “We look forward to seeing you all!”

It comes after NHS Resolutions approved an application to re-open the former Rowlands branch in Swindon in November, despite objections from both Rowlands and Boots. 

 

 

Rowlands: Pharmacy “undermines economic viability” of others nearby

 

At the time, a Rowlands spokesperson argued that the multiple “remains convinced” that local pharmaceutical needs could be addressed “without the need for a pharmacy on Rodbourne Road”.

 

“Continuing a pharmacy presence at Rodbourne Road undermines the economic viability of other nearby pharmacies”, they said.

 

Read more: NHSE&I and local council halt Rowlands’ plans to merge two pharmacies

 

The spokesperson confirmed to C+D that the multiple was considering its options.

 

C+D has again approached the multiple for comment.

 

Timeline: A pharmacy under threat

 

The pharmacy had been previously owned by Rowlands, which had wanted to consolidate its two branches in the area and close the one on Rodbourne Road.

But NHS England halted the plans in July 2021 on the basis it would create a gap in provision of pharmaceutical services.

Despite local outcry, Rowlands closed the branch in October 2021 and patients were told to visit its other branch nearby.

Read more: Community ‘shocked’ that Rowlands pharmacy will close after NHSE&I rejected merger

A pharmacist’s application was granted by NHSE in January 2022, but Rowlands then attempted to block the re-opening of the pharmacy by lodging an appeal with NHS Resolutions.

And in May, Boots also objected to the re-opening of the branch, saying there was no “requirement” for another pharmacy in the area.

 

NHS Resolutions ruling

 

However, NHS Resolutions’ November ruling said that it was “not satisfied” that re-opening the pharmacy would “cause significant detriment” to the provision of pharmaceuticals in the area.

Instead, it ruled that “granting the application would confer significant benefits…that would secure improvements or better access to pharmaceutical services”.

Read more: Rowlands responds to speculation about sale of 79 branches

And it noted that Swindon was “under-provided for in terms of number of pharmacies when compared to the national average”.

“There is not already a reasonable choice with regard to obtaining pharmaceutical services,” it said.

It comes as C+D this week revealed that Rowlands is the subject of rumours around the sale of 79 branches – although the multiple told C+D that so far “no divestments have been agreed” in response to the speculation.

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