Earlier this month, several people shared their concerns on Twitter that Lloydspharmacy was opting to provisionally close some of its branches rather than increase its locum pay rate to find pharmacist cover.
A Lloydspharmacy spokesperson had told C+D that the multiple was aware of the complaints and that its superintendent pharmacist was investigating.
In a statement to C+D today (March 29), a Lloydspharmacy spokesperson said that the multiple's superintendent “has investigated the complaints raised via social media and is satisfied with the findings”.
C+D has asked for the specifics of these findings.
The spokesperson added that “closing any of our pharmacies at any time is always a last resort”, as Lloydspharmacy takes “our responsibility for the care of our patients and customers very seriously”.
However, while it is the multiple’s priority to ensure pharmacies are “open and accessible”, it is “essential they continue to be viable operations” so they can serve communities in the long-term, they said.
“We are confident that we operate a competitive and flexible average hourly rate for locum pharmacists and would direct complainants to the relevant NHS commissioner should they have any further concerns,” the spokesperson added.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) was informed of the issue earlier this month. Following Lloydspharmacy’s update on its investigation, C+D has approached the GPhC for further comments.
Locum pharmacist Tohidul Islam, who shared his concerns about the temporary closures on social media, told C+D: "A simple solution to the branch closure crisis is to ensure locums are booked in at higher rates in advance."
He asked what the GPhC and NHS would do to "ensure contractual obligations are met and no harm comes to patients" in these situations.