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Lloydspharmacy to close or sell 190 branches across England

Cormac Tobin: Changes to reimbursement have made operations at many stores unviable
Cormac Tobin: Changes to reimbursement have made operations at many stores unviable

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company Celesio UK has announced it will cease trading in 190 “commercially unviable” branches across England.

In a statement published this afternoon (October 26), Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin said the organisation has made the decision due to “changes to government policy on reimbursement and retrospective clawbacks over the past two years”.

“We must respond to the dramatic reimbursement cuts over the past 24 months,” Mr Tobin said.

“Although this is a difficult day for some of our colleagues, this also presents an opportunity for us to set ourselves up for the future and build our reputation as a trusted partner of the NHS,” he added.

In a message circulated to Lloydspharmacy employees, Mr Tobin said the decision had “not been taken lightly”, but was “necessary” for the business “to adapt to the changing landscape”.

The "approximate" 190 branches will “cease trading” “through a combination of store closures and divestments”, Mr Tobin explained.

Which pharmacies will be affected?

Celesio UK told C+D that it is “engaged in an active process to try and find alternative options” for the 190 stores, “which includes divestment”.

“It’s too early to give any further details” of the branches, how many staff will be affected, or the possible timescales for closures, it said.

“We will be looking for potential buyers for the affected pharmacies. It is for whoever acquires the pharmacies to make decisions about their future,” Celesio UK added.

The organisation will “look to redeploy colleagues wherever possible”, but “where we are unable to find a solution, unfortunately colleagues may be in a redundancy situation”.

Mr Tobin also stressed that the organisation is “here to support anyone affected by these changes”.

Lloydspharmacy currently operates "around 1,500" branches across the UK, according to its website. Parent company Celesio UK bought all 281 of Sainsbury’s pharmacies for £125 million in 2015, with the handover completed in September 2016.

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Are you a Lloydspharmacy employee?

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I still don't get how so many pharmacy students have not and will not wake up to the fact that they have no future in pharmacy.Yet still they apply for places on the pharmacy degree like sheep to the slaughter.I have tried to warn many but my words fall on deaf ears.

This has been coming for a long time now.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Totally agree. go on that site  'thestudentroom' and they are all there chattering away about where to go and what grades they need.  Anyone mention pharmacy in the real world after graduation and they don't want to know!  

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

massive increase in supply of graduates + massive reduction in number of jobs + 50 grand debt + delusional employment expectations = oh dear

Marcus Jones, Student

I would like to take over the lease / ownership of one of these pharmcies. Anyhone know where they will be listed? Please contact me if any are up for sale or transfer of the lease.

locum norfolk, Locum pharmacist

pre sorted before information became public... lloyds isnt stupid

Harish Shah, Senior Management

Try forming a club for staff management takeover and talk to other pharmatists of Lloyds for a prospective management takeover.

Ghengis Pharm, Locum pharmacist

Sainsburys ?

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Steady on.... the body isn't even cold yet! lol

Fair play, ceasing an opportunity but what makes you think you'll be able to succeed where a large company with experience +  a wholesale business failed?

Honest Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

It wouldn't be difficult, anyone could do better than Lloyds, I promise you. You would think they would have "experience", and you would think that they would know what they were doing, but unfortunately the reality is that I have never known a company that is more unorganised in my life. They literally have no idea, the staff turnover in Head Office is so quick that people don't even get to know what they are doing before they decide they've had enough and walk, then the cycle starts again. The training, support and guidance is ZERO.

The Area Managers seem to come from every walk of life EXCEPT pharmacy. Our Area Manager used to manage FARM FOODS, which I DON'T think is valuable experience for a pharmacy. No the wonder they don't have any idea! And because they hold this position of authority, they are blinded by self-assured hubris.

Lloyds literally destroy staff morale and break them. The ones that stick it are the ones on the frontline,because they actually care about each other and their patients. To be honest I hope we're one of those that are sold. Every cloud and all that...

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Farm foods! LOL   A friend of mine who worked for a 'super'chain, had an area manager who used to work for a company selling tyres!!  Until pharmacy goes back 25 yrs and starts using pharmacists in management like Boots and Lloyds USED to !!  Then things will only get worse.   I brandished a copy of Dale and Appleby at one over-eager young 'area manager' saying "this is what we have to adhere to!"   He left me alone after that!!  This is another problem, young pharmacists are too scared for their jobs to stand up for themselves, which is understandable in the current climate, but it leads to being steamrollered into things at store level that aren't good, by non-pharmacist area managers who simply aren't challenged like they could have been. Mainly I think because anyone with any pension or sense who is over 50/55 has got out of full-time community pharmacy with the multiples at least, mainly for the sake of their mental health. Lloyds were OK until Allen Lloyd sold up. 


Tien On, Community pharmacist

Um.. back in the 90s we had an area manager that came from one of the Shoe companies. Needless to say, the position became vacant fairly soon. 


Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I agree, Angela. Lloyds were OK when I did my pre-reg with them. Allen Lloyd was a spiv but not a bad spiv and he did look after his staff. Once the corporates got involved it nosedived badly from there and that was my cue to get out.

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

I used to work for them too... never again! I feel your pain.

Tim B, Locum pharmacist

May I suggest to Mr Tobin et al. that this situation is to a certain extent self inflicted. WHY do not LloydsPharmacy charge for services which they currently do for free ?? I cite collection and delivery as the major culprit here. How much does it cost Lloyds on an annual basis to run a fleet of vans (road tax, insurance, fuel, repairs , replacement) and also employ someone to do the deliveries.? Surely it is better to try this rather than close branches and prolong the culture of doing freebies for everyone !!


Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Pharmacy is it's own worst enemy. In particluar look at deliveries as you have, plus also the time and effort that goes into MDS trays for community patients at no cost to them!  Madness!!  The worst thing is, they are the only 'services' that people value and we do them for free!!  

Ghengis Pharm, Locum pharmacist

Sorry to give a thumbsdown Tim but this freebie delivery culture was around long before the big boys took it up. 

Tim B, Locum pharmacist

I know free delivery has been around for while , along with mds and so on. Years ago, nhs reimbursements were sufficient to cover such expense and make a fair profit. These services should have been charged for from inception. Government has seen pharmacy doing all these  non- contractual  things for noot and now the pigeon has come home to roost. I have always maintained that if a service is valued then it should be paid for  and have had many an argument over the years on this topic. Government have taken the stance that pharmacy is way overpaid if it can afford to do all these things for nothing; maybe it is correct to think this way. The likes of Lloydspharmacy have never understood this. What is so wrong in charging for what is, really, a private service.?

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Quite correct. Control of entry and a generous system of central funding engendered a very lazy business culture. Costs were not managed and innovation was not required for survival. Of course, many individual pharmacies provided an excellent service and could be argued to have provided great taxpayer value, but very many did not. Unfortunately, the sector has been characterised by latter, not the former. A spreadsheet obsessed government that is ignorant to these distinctions, has decided patronage of vertically integrated chains is the most efficient way to eliminate the biggest cost - people.

Stephen Walker, Community pharmacist

OUCH-best wishes to all Lloyds staff (Pharmacists and team members) in this troubling time for you. Keep believing and hope there are buyers out there that could make a turnaround for at least some shops. Live Long & Prosper.

D Edwards, Hospital pharmacist

Whilst I am no fan of Lloyds, I am sad for the staff who no doubt get enough rubbish thrown at them at work on a daily basis let alone this news. I hope they will be compensated. 

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Calling Mr(s) S Morein! This is a request for Mr(s) S Morein! Please make your presence known to the many contributors of this site who have had to read your "scaremongering" drivel for the last few years. If the second biggest pharmacy chain (who also have their own wholesaler) can't make it work in nearly 200 sites, I'd be grateful for your thoughts on how the small guys, often the most innovative and forward thinking ones, will manage.

S Morein, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Let's see which so called closures occur and their locations. Anywhere with 2 Lloyds pharmacies operating a quasi monopoly will be merged and there are a lot of them. Any small pharmacy which doe not fit their brand will be sold. Not a single pharmacy will close due to the so-called cuts. It is just Lloyds using the opportunity gifted by contract limitation to reorganise their estate to maximise an already over substantial profit.

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

Spot on Morien, You took the words right out of my mouth.

Genuine closures will only be evidenced when the independents throw in the towel

Amal England, Public Relations

You are right, the only hope is many of the multiple's branches offer a service beyond appalling and it is very easy to take their business- i have seen this done time and agian.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

If any existing contractor gets some scripts, it might help with the bills, but extra work means more pressure - with existing staff. When a shoe or cream company performed MDS freely, the independents did the same. We now pay the price for such folly, and eventually, the public will be paying too.

The future involves big operators, a charge for some services and technology with less human staff. I don't mean cyborgs...

Ian Kemp, Community pharmacist

How negative Ben, surely this is a great opportunity for Mr[s] Morein and co to put their money where their mouth is and take up a once in a lifetime opportunity to snap up these ' gold mines', turn them into profitable businesses and confound the doubting Thomas' [ or Ben's ]. No lack of opportunity for the enterprising little guy/girl so often bleated about in these pages in this news.

S Morein, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

It appears that everyone who wants to buy one of the pharmacies being divested are too late. It is a done deal. Some sold for a handsome goodwill consideration. The others merged, in areas where Lloyds have a monopoly, reducing costs with no threat of competition due to the bonkers control of entry regulations. Nice money.

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

Problem is you will need a 20% cash deposit, and in reality you would be better off putting that money in a decent ISA with your finanical adviser and keeping the interest rather than working hard to pay the bank the 80% back. Even if you can make the books balance it will be 15 years before you are in position to enjoy the fruits of your hard labour.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

you need your head testing if you want to buy a pharmacy in this day! Where only one paymaster who has no money and for all the work done you will not get paided properly hub and spoke and no supervision is where it is going.Pharmacy is dead.

locum norfolk, Locum pharmacist

many will disagree with this but its got to be true....


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