Lloyds Pharmacy has announced that all 237 branches inside Sainsburys stores are to close over the next year in response to “changing market conditions”. Lloyds Pharmacy, bought Sainsbury’s 280-branch pharmacy network in 2015 in a £125m deal but now more than 2,000 jobs are at risk.
Lloyds, which runs about 1,400 pharmacies in the UK, decided to pull the plug on 16 per cent of its outlets following “a strategic review of its operations in response to changing market conditions”.
Kevin Birch, chief executive of Lloyds Pharmacy, 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."
It is believed that individual branches will be put up for sale and the company is “exploring options” for each of them. The Pharmacists Defence Association (PDA) said the Sainsbury’s closures could negatively impact patients.
PDA Assistant General Secretary, Mark Pitt said:
"We have seen many disposals of Lloyds Pharmacy branches over recent months and we know more may occur, however for every disposal there has been a buyer, therefore patients and communities have seen no reduction in availability, the pharmacy network has not lost capacity and there were no job losses.
"This situation is different and means significant reductions in access to a pharmacy for patients and we expect those who represent communities to be concerned about the loss of a key part of their local NHS service.”
Mr. Pitt added: "Forward-thinking governments around the UK are seeking to make greater use of pharmacies as the most accessible contact point in the NHS, to reduce pressure on other parts of the healthcare system, so there should be greater community pharmacy capacity, not less."
It has not been confirmed when each pharmacy will close.