February 27, 2024
  • Rushport Advisory

New Pharmacy Approved for Stockton After Closure of Lloyds

The closure of so many pharmacies across the UK is something that all pharmacists are aware of. In the beginning, it was only low volume and poorly performing pharmacies that were being closed, but 2023 saw large scale closures of busy pharmacies, with the most notable being the closure of all Lloyds pharmacies that were based within Sainsburys. Lloyds would have preferred to sell these pharmacies, but for various reasons they could not, so they simply closed them down. We are also now seeing Boots close pharmacies that would have been turning over in excess of £1million per year rather than sell them. These closures are prompting a significant rise in applications under regulation 18 “unforseen benefits”, with pharmacists seeking approval to open a new pharmacy in areas where the closures have caused problems for the local community. For many years now regulation 18 applications have been a rarity, but we are now seeing a very significant rise in application numbers and 2024 looks like being a very busy year.

In this case, Lloyds closed their pharmacy within Sainsburys in Stockton in the north east of England. At one stage the pharmacy had been dispensing over 12,000 items per month and since its closure there had been a spike in dispensing at the 2 nearest pharmacies. Initially the ICB refused our client’s application and we appealed this decision on behalf of our client. Primary Care Appeals decided to hear the application by way of an Oral Hearing.

The main objectors to the application were the LPC and despite not having initially objected to the application they argued at the hearing that a new pharmacy was not required.

After considering the evidence presented by all parties, the Committee found that the area to the west of Stockton no longer had a reasonable choice of pharmacies and that granting the application would confer significant benefits on the local population. The Committee also stated that “the LPC’s position [was] unhelpful to its considerations.”

The appeal was allowed and our client’s application was approved.