It was a “difficult decision” to close the Staple Hill store, a Well spokesperson told C+D on Tuesday (November 29).
“As a business, we continually review our estate, which can sometimes lead to relocations, re-fittings, the opening of new branches and occasional closures,” it added.
Independent contractor Jon Campbell, who is based in Bristol, suggested on Twitter that this could be the “first of many” pharmacy closures in the area, as a result of the 12% cut to pharmacy funding in England that comes into force today.
Richard Brown, chief officer of Avon local pharmaceutical committee, also predicted to C+D that deep cash-flow shortages over the next four months could result in closures in the region.
'Unrelated to the cuts'
Well told C+D the closure in Staple Hill “isn’t related to the funding cuts in any way”, and stressed it is part of its “standard ongoing portfolio review”.
The spokesperson added that before closing a store, it always assesses whether patient care will be affected.
“Our priority is to ensure local patients still have access to a pharmacy in the immediate vicinity, and therefore we direct customers to our nearest local store, which offers the same expert advice and services,” they said.
Data published by NHS Digital last month revealed that a total of 39 pharmacies closed in 2015-16 – six more than the previous year. However, this was offset by 47 new openings.