Multiples Boots and Lloyds have both made changes to their pharmacy services in England, amid ‘ongoing reviews’ to their services.
Boots has said it will stop pharmacy provision in 22 locations ‘in the coming months’, however the stores themselves will remain open. It did not disclose their locations.
A spokesperson from the multiple said: ‘We continually review our pharmacy network to ensure that we balance our commitment to offer provision where it is most needed with our need to adapt to a changing market environment.
‘Sometimes this means opening new pharmacies and sometimes it means taking a decision to close some. In the coming months we will close a small number as part of this ongoing review.
‘Many of these pharmacies are close to other Boots stores that offer pharmacy provision and we will offer pharmacy team members alternative roles at Boots wherever possible.’
They added they had opened almost 20 new stores in 2020 and 2021 and would ‘continue to look at new locations’.
It comes several days after LloydsPharmacy cut the hours of its 100-hour pharmacies operating in Sainsbury’s stores.
From today (8 November), the stores which operate 100-hour contracts will now move their standard trading day on Monday to Saturday to 9am-9pm to reduce the number of part or full closures which it said had been ‘prevalent’ to date. Sunday hours will remain unchanged.
In a letter which was shared on Twitter last week (2 November), which appears to have been sent by LloydsPharmacy to retail managers, the multiple said the changes were temporary until January 2022.
The letter said: ‘As part of ongoing reviews within our pharmacies, we have evaluated our service provisions and workforce plans to ensure they provide the safest pharmaceutical care for our patients and communities we serve.
‘The current UK-wide work force challenges and pharmacist shortages, against the backdrop of the pandemic and changing behaviours within the locum population has further exacerbated a reduction in workforce availability.’
The letter added that both the NHS and Sainsbury’s Head Office had been notified of the intentions, with the changes made under the emergency declaration of flexible provision of pharmaceutical services, which is in place until 31 January 2021.
It comes after pharmacy contractors were urged to report unscheduled closures to opening hours after the Pharmacists’ Defence Association received a surge in unreported closures in Scotland.
LloydsPharmacy has been contacted for comment.