Celesio UK has today announced its intention to cease trading in approximately 190 of its LloydsPharmacy stores in England, through a combination of store closures and divestments.
This action is a result of recent Department of Health and NHS England cuts to reimbursement policy and increases in retrospective clawbacks.
Cormac Tobin, managing director, Celesio UK, said: “Changes to government policy on reimbursement and retrospective clawbacks over the past two years have gradually made operations at many LloydsPharmacy stores commercially unviable. We will be doing all that we can to support our affected colleagues and minimise disruption for patients.
“As a company we pride ourselves on putting the customer first by constantly finding new ways to evolve in order to achieve excellence in quality, safety and efficiency for the NHS. We look forward to working with the Department of Health and NHS England in the future to ensure that we can shape a new framework which allows us to invest, innovate and continually improve our service to patients.”
Celesio UK will take every opportunity to support a smooth transition to new contractors, where appropriate, and to ensure an uninterrupted service for its customers. As part of the process of identifying pharmacies for closure, the business looked at other community pharmacy provision in the area, with a view to mitigating the impact on patients as much as possible.
Cormac Tobin continued: “With pressures in the economic and funding landscape it is vital that we take a leading role in the evolution of community pharmacy, to ensure that our business is sustainable for the future. We firmly believe that community pharmacy is part of the solution to increasing capacity in other parts of the NHS.
“We recognise pharmacy needs to adapt to changing societal trends and take advantage of the opportunities digitalisation offers patients. To achieve this we need a new operational framework that meets the future needs of patients by creating a thriving pharmacy network that continues to offer essential integrated healthcare that is rooted in local communities. Nonetheless we must respond to the dramatic reimbursement cuts over the past 24 months.
“Although this is a difficult day for some of our colleagues, this also presents an opportunity for us to set ourselves up for the future and build our reputation as a trusted partner of the NHS. This is the beginning of a transformation for our business that will combine the accessibility of our physical pharmacies and their teams, the customer convenience of digital channels and harness the skills of our people to provide a broader range of healthcare in people’s homes, communities or wherever they need it.”