Sainsbury’s to lose LloydsPharmacy service in 237 of its supermarkets
LloydsPharmacy is cutting its services following a review
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Sainsbury’s is set to lose its in-store pharmacies across all of its supermarkets this year, it has been announced.
LloydsPharmacy has confirmed it is pulling out of its 237 pharmacy sites within Sainsbury’s stores following a strategic review.
The pharmacy chain blamed “changing market conditions” for the decision, adding that it is “exploring options” for each individual branch.
It said it will confirm its exact closure plans on a “branch-by-branch” basis, but it expects to complete the process over the course of 2023.
LloydsPharmacy said it is working with all colleagues impacted by the announcement, but has not yet disclosed how many workers will be affected.
Kevin Birch, chief executive officer of LloydsPharmacy, said: “This decision has not been an easy one and we understand that our patients and customers may have questions about how the change will affect them.
“We would like to thank them for their continued support and assure them that we are committed to providing a smooth transition over the coming months. I am very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication to our patients, customers and communities.”
The decision comes seven years after LloydsPharmacy first snapped up the pharmacies from the retailer for £125 million. It runs around 1,400 pharmacies across the UK.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “LloydsPharmacy is withdrawing pharmacy services from our stores over the coming months. We will work with them to ensure customers are clear on how they can access an alternative pharmacy provision to meet their needs.”
‘A wake-up call for government’
The news come amid growing pressure on the UK pharmacy sector, following calls for increased funding support from the government.
Nigel Swift, deputy managing director at pharmacy group Phoenix UK, said: “This announcement is the clearest possible sign of the dire situation facing community pharmacy in England as a result of insufficient government funding.
“Since the start of the pharmacy contract there has been a massive cut in real-term funding resulting in hundreds of closures. This has to be a wake-up call for government.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Community pharmacies play a vital role in our healthcare system and we back them with £2.6 billion a year. On top of this, we have announced a further £100 million investment in the sector to help support services.
“We are carefully monitoring access to pharmaceutical services. About 80% of people live within 20 minutes of a community pharmacy and there remains twice as many pharmacies in deprived areas compared to less deprived areas.”