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Number of pharmacy closures since cuts even higher than court told

DH's original figure of 134 closures took account of 22 openings over same period
DH's original figure of 134 closures took account of 22 openings over same period

A total of 156 pharmacies have closed in the wake of the funding cuts in England, government data has revealed.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) told the Court of Appeal on Tuesday (May 22) that 134 pharmacies had closed in England between April 2016 and April 2018.

But the DH clarified to C+D yesterday that looking solely at the period from November 2016 – the month before the 12% funding cut came into force – to April 2018, 156 “bricks-and-mortar pharmacies” have in fact closed.

The DH’s original figure had taken account of 22 pharmacies which had opened over this period, bringing the number of net closures down to 134.

The number of closures could potentially be even higher, as the DH stressed to C+D that “pharmacies that have local pharmaceutical contracts are not included within this analysis”.

However, it also pointed out that “limitations” with the data means that “in some cases relocations and consolidations may [have been] identified as closures”.

Over the same period, 63 distance-selling pharmacies had opened, and none had closed, the DH added.

The DH did not confirm to C+D the locations of the pharmacy closures.

C+D digital reporter Thomas Cox (@CandDThomas) reported live from the court for the duration of pharmacy’s funding cuts appeal. Catch up on events from the first day here, and the final day’s proceedings here.

Reported closures so far

C+D has so far confirmed the locations of 31 Lloydspharmacy branches that have closed as a result of the funding cuts – part of the 190 pharmacies the multiple deemed “commercially unviable”.

Only last week, Rowlands revealed to C+D that it is considering “reducing its branch network” because of the “draconian” cuts to pharmacy funding in England.

Last November, pharmacy chain PCT Healthcare confirmed to C+D it had made the “difficult decision” to close two branches due to “continuing attrition”.

Have any pharmacies closed in your area recently?

Lloyds in sainsburys in stafford closed on June 10th it's not on the map yet 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

If we followed the evidently intended direction of consolidating dispensary work into as few buildings as possible in a similar fashion that GP surgeries have been the target of, removing the single doctor into multi-professional buildings, how are the other services going to fit, because you can't live on just services, can you?

I wonder how the long-term vision of Pharmacy looks like?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

... no patients have failed to get their medications from alternative outlets then ...

Richard MacLeavy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

I live near Bristol and know that Horizon Pharmacy a distance selling pharmacy based in the patchway area has closed down (and not reloacted). Seems like the DH figures on pharmacy openings and closures is as well researched as the funding cuts.

Brian AUSTEN, Administration & Support

This confirms that B&M pharmacies closing and internet opening. High Street retail cannot compete with internet retail resulting in closures. 

A Hussain, Senior Management

It's much cheaper to open an online pharmacy, but that does not mean it will succeed.  This isn't pure retail.  If it was then I'd agree with you and we'd already be gone!

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Financially, no. But can a DSP demonstrate inhaler technique, deliver core palliative care meds on their way home, via another pharmacy for the one item you don't have, make an emergency supply of an antiepileptic or reassure a worried parent that their child has a viral/eczematous/sweat rash rather than meningitis...

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Respectfully, if strictly were to play devil's advocate, there is a way of doing most of those - off the top of my head advice could be technically given via video conferencing and referring when needed. The evidence is that 111 already does do this to a certain extent.

However, emergency, urgent, and palliative care would need specialised services available to be accessible in the same timescales as a B&M.

Certainly can see the appeal of pushing out pharmacy in this manner looking at it from the other side. The morality? That's a different debate.

Amjad Khan, Senior Management

Well that can't be right because my Internet pharmacy closed in March

SIMON MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

consolidation is just newspeak for closure

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Always is frustrating that we struggle to call a spade a spade.

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