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Seven Asda pharmacies to be axed under chain’s proposals


Seven Asda pharmacies to be axed under chain’s proposals

Asda has announced it is consulting on a proposal to close seven of its 254 in-store pharmacies “due to low customer usage”.

The proposal was revealed in a statement last week that set out other cost-cutting plans including reduced hours for staff working at its in-store post office branches.

The proposed pharmacy closures would affect 14 pharmacists and 48 staff members paid on a per-hour basis, the company said.

Asda retail director Ken Towle said: “The retail sector is evolving at pace and it is vital we review changing customer preferences, along with our own ways of working, to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible so that we can continue to invest and grow our business.”

The company is now “entering a period of consultation with our colleagues on these proposals,” Mr Towle continued, adding: “We recognise this will be a difficult time for them and will do all we can to support them through this process.”

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association said it would support affected PDA members employed by the supermarket chain, and that it “will be expecting pharmacists to receive adequate redundancy compensation and fair treatment as they try and seek alternative employment during any notice period”.

PDA Union director Paul Day said: “In addition to the immediate impact on pharmacists employed at the stores marked for closure, this is a worrying further instance of reductions in access to a pharmacy for patients and we expect those who represent communities to be concerned about the loss of a key part of their local NHS service.

“Those pharmacists who are PDA members can contact our service centre for advice in due course and in the meantime should ensure they read communications from the PDA.”

The PDA said that in addition to the impact of closures on those facing redundancy, there can be knock-on effects in the wider network such as higher patient volumes in neighbouring pharmacies putting a strain on resources.

Warning that Government funding cuts are causing “predictable pressure” for pharmacies, the PDA said: “As politicians talk about asking community pharmacy to take on more of the NHS workload, the government need to clarify what is being done to ensure the overall sector has the capacity to do so. 

“Capacity lost in supermarkets needs to be gained on the high street or elsewhere in the community.”

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