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LloydsPharmacy to axe outlets within Sainsbury’s supermarkets

LloydsPharmacy has said it will pull out of its 237 pharmacy sites within Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

The pharmacy chain said it has cut the services following a strategic review “in response to changing market conditions”.

LloydsPharmacy added that it is “exploring options” for each branch individual and will confirm exact closure plans on a “branch-by-branch” basis but expects to complete the process over the course of 2023.

It stressed that it is working with all colleagues impacted by the announcement but did not disclose how many workers would 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.”

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.”

The decision comes seven years after LloydsPharmacy first snapped up the pharmacies from the retailer for £125 million.

It comes amid growing pressure on the UK pharmacy sector, following calls for increased state funding support.

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.”