Three Jersey pharmacies to close

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (36741747)

THREE pharmacies are to close this month.

LloydsPharmacy said the “difficult decision” to shut its branches at Red Houses (Parade), and David Place and Indigo House in St Helier, was the “last resort” following a review into their operations.

The LLoydsPharmacy branch at Centre Point in Red Houses will remain open.

Age Concern chair Ben Shenton said that while the news was “not too concerning”, the government needed to “monitor the situation and take action” if accelerating closures left residents vulnerable.

Social Security Minister Elaine Millar said she did not envisage any impact on the recent £12 million scheme to widen the services offered by community pharmacies.

In a statement, LloydsPharmacy said: “Like all retail businesses, LloydsPharmacy regularly reviews its pharmacy estate to ensure it is operating sustainably.

“It is selectively selling some branches, securing ongoing employment for branch colleagues and maintaining ongoing access to pharmacy services for patients and customers.

“LloydsPharmacy is pleased to confirm that colleagues from the affected branches will be offered ongoing employment within the remaining branches on the Island.

“With a large network of community pharmacies on the Channel Islands, LloydsPharmacy is confident that patients and customers will continue to have excellent access to local community pharmacy services. The decision to close a pharmacy is very much a last resort and is only taken after all alternative options have been thoroughly explored. Any decision is always taken in the interests of patients, colleagues and the business.”

Deputy Millar said that while the closures were “clearly disappointing”, the Island remained “well served by approximately 30 other pharmacies”.

She continued: “As such, I don’t envisage there being any impact on the £12m investment package for community pharmacies – a scheme which will provide further support for more Islanders by extending the services and healthcare that are available.”

Deputy Millar pledged the package of support in March of this year, to be rolled out over the next three to four years, in order to ease pressure on other health services by giving pharmacies the power to prescribe medicines for longer periods.

Responding to the closures, Mr Shenton said it had become “increasingly difficult” for qualified professionals, such as pharmacists, to do business in Jersey due to staff shortages, high rents and increasing government red tape. He continued: “The loss of access to pharmacy services is of most concern for individuals with limited mobility and those who lack a support system that can pick up and deliver their prescriptions (such as the elderly and people with acute conditions).

“These closures are not too concerning as they are in areas which are well served with other chemists. However, a serious problem could quickly develop if we see an acceleration of closures and the government needs to monitor the situation, and take action if the trend ultimately leaves residents vulnerable.”

The closures come at a time when HSBC has shut three cash machines and Jersey Post is seeking new locations for three of its post offices, after branch closures.

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