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Lloydspharmacy blames rising rents for closure of health centre branch

Lloydspharmacy in Weston Favell Health Centre will close in October (Credit: © 2019 Google, image capture: June 2018)
Lloydspharmacy in Weston Favell Health Centre will close in October (Credit: © 2019 Google, image capture: June 2018)

Lloydspharmacy has warned a national trend of rising rental costs is putting pharmacies at risk, as it announces the closure of one of its branches.

The branch in Weston Favell Health Centre, Northampton, will close at the end of October “as a result of NHS Property Services doubling our rental price”, Toby Anderson, chief executive of Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK, announced last Friday (August 2).

This is “despite us having shared evidence that...we are operating at a loss”, he stressed.

The “difficult decision” to close the pharmacy is indicative of a “national trend” affecting the whole sector, Mr Anderson added.

“The rising cost of property rental, combined with other costs pressures, means community pharmacies are increasingly forced to close their doors.

“Pharmacies often don’t get the same preferential rates that other healthcare professionals, like GPs and dentists do,” he claimed.

“Fundamentally at odds with NHS aim”

“We strongly believe that reducing access to an appointment-free, convenient healthcare service in the community – which unlocks capacity for GPs and enables patients with minor ailments to be seen immediately – is fundamentally at odds with the NHS’s ambitions to improve patient care,” Mr Anderson stressed.

“Indeed, it risks patients losing out directly, as some over-the-counter treatments are no longer prescribed in GP practices, meaning some people will now have to travel to find the treatment they need.”

Lloydspharmacy will look to redeploy the affected staff at the Weston Favell Health Centre to other branches, Mr Anderson said.

Lloydspharmacy closed or sold 182 branches between October 2017 and September 2018 (view their locations here). McKesson announced in May that it expects to close further pharmacies in Europe.

Are you struggling with increasing rental prices?

Super Locum,

This pharmacy dispenses 10k items a month and still facing closure. Sad sign of the times. More closures looming ahead

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I think it's the fact that they were trying to dispense 10k a month when they were probably only staffed for 5k a month would explain many of the abysmal reviews that this pharmacy received.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Owners of health centres (GP practices, the NHS or developers - it doesn't matter which) all see pharmacy as a 'cash cow' and refuse to accept that, with reductions in remuneration and increases in wages, compounded by reductions in prescriptions due to restrictions on prescribing, have made that a thing of the past. We no longer have money to give up to these avaricious landlords, so closure becomes the only option. After all, why would you run a business at a loss?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Not that it has anything to do the 85% profit slump the parent company has.

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

It was Lloyd who was aggressively bidding for such contracts in health centres, hospitals and prisons

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Yes and they also bought Sainsburys pharmacy - look how that panned out. Too much greed, not enough business acumen.

Clarke Kent, Community pharmacist

The surgery will no doubt utilise the floor space made redundant by Lloyds to benefit the practice in terms of being able to run more clinics. It’s a decision by NHS england and their property services, so the practice will have little or no input I believe in raising the rent. But just highlights the inefficies within the whole of the NHS services. Giving GP’s a raise, lowering their work pressures, and then raising this money at the expense of others, wether that be patients themselves, by issuing fines for incorrect prescription declarations, (and not refunding them when challenged for being incorrectly fined), or other means such as this. It’s all a farce to be honest. I was reading about the GP shortages, where GP’s retire when their pension pot hit’s £1M (usually when they’re in their late 50’s) due to increased tax. Retire, then have a short break, come back and locum!!! The people ‘running’ this country seem to have no idea how to run it, other than for the benefit of themselves...

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

It really is as if the NHS does not want pharmacies any more

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Take the time to read the reviews online about this pharmacy, both on the NHS website and on google reviews. By all accounts it was totally and utterly shocking, no wonder they wanted it gone!

One reviewer went as far to call it "the worst chemist in the UK"!

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