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Conservative MP criticises Asda over closure of branch in Cornwall

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Conservative MP criticises Asda over closure of branch in Cornwall

The Conservative MP Scott Mann has accused Asda of making an “extremely disappointing” decision to close its branch in Cornwall at short notice and leaving patients in the area concerned about their ability to access medicines and health advice.

In a post on Facebook, Mann (pictured), the MP for North Cornwall, said he would write to Asda’s head office to express his concerns “on behalf of people in Bodmin and the local area” after the multiple said it would close the branch at the end of July.

He urged anyone opposed to the pharmacy’s closure to get in touch with him so he could get “an idea of how many people would like this decision reversed.”

The local press has reported the branch’s closure would leave Bodmin with two bricks-and-mortar pharmacies. According to the Cornish Times, Bodmin Town Council also said it would write to Asda to express their concerns.

Councillor Leigh Frost, the Cornwall Council member for Bodmin St Petroc’s, said its closure would be problematic for patients because it is the only pharmacy that opens later than 6pm “in the whole of East Cornwall.”

Insisting he was “very disappointed to see the Asda pharmacy closing,” Frost was quoted in Cornish Times as saying: “This disadvantages many of our working population who can’t get to the pharmacy during usual hours.”

He said Bodmin has seen “a significant reduction in available pharmacies” and insisted Asda’s decision “will only put more pressure on the existing pharmacies and sadly create further issues for residents that need the service.”

He added: “Unfortunately, for big businesses, profit margins mean more to them than the community.”

Asda told Independent Community Pharmacist it was “no longer commercially viable to keep” the branch open having “tried a number of initiatives to improve profitability, including changing the opening hours and introducing healthcare partnerships.”

An Asda spokesperson said: “Sadly, these haven’t addressed the long-term decline in customer numbers.” They said “in-store healthcare remains an important part” of its “customer proposition” and insisted Asda “will continue to operate 247 pharmacies across the UK.”

The spokesperson added: “Our Bodmin pharmacy has been loss-making for a number of years due to a continuous decline in customer usage and we have now reached a position where it is no longer financially viable to keep it open.

“We are now entering a period of consultation with our colleagues on these proposals and will do all we can to support them through this process.”


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