North Devon councillor John Mathews told C+D earlier this month (December 4) that closing the pharmacy “will have a devastating effect on residents, especially the elderly, who really rely on that particular chemist for supplies”.
Mr Mathews took the issue to North Devon Council's 'overview and scrutiny' committee, but because it is a “business decision”, he predicts “there’s not much we can do”.
The committee has written to Lloydspharmacy, but “one of the arguments they could make is that the two main surgeries in town do have a Lloydspharmacy attached to them”, he said.
“It's just the inconvenience, when all these people have to go further, especially [as] there's a lot of elderly people living in that area.”
To help ensure locals have access to their pharmacies, Mr Mathews helped the council recommission a bus route in 2016.
“It's a facility which is well used by a couple of thousand or so residents as far as I'm aware,” Mr Mathews said. “[But] now they've taken away the other chemist.”
In a letter confirming the closure, sent to the council's overview and scrutiny committee chairman Brian Greenslade – and seen by C+D – Lloydspharmacy said it “fully understands the impact that such changes can have on local communities”.
“We have looked at other community pharmacy provision in the area, with the view to limiting the impact on patients as much as possible,” the multiple added.
“We will be taking every opportunity to direct patients to other community pharmacies in the area.”
Lloydspharmacy stressed that it is supporting staff “at this difficult time” and will “redeploy” roles to other branches “where vacancies exist”.
Devon local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) chief executive Sue Taylor told C+D last week that the closure means patients will “have to make slightly longer journeys, which is not ideal”, and patient choice would be affected.
However, a pharmaceutical needs assessment had not revealed that the closure would create a gap in service provision for the area, she said.
“That pharmacy is particularly convenient because it’s in a shopping area,” she said, but “there's another five pharmacies within about a mile radius”.
Where else will Lloydspharmacy cease trading?
You can use C+D's map to view the location of each of the 19 locations where Lloydspharmacy has so far confirmed that it will cease trading. Branches confirmed for closure are marked in purple, while those Lloydspharmacy is still hoping to sell are marked in blue.
This map is live, and will be updated as C+D confirms the locations of further affected Lloydspharmacy branches.