The General Pharmaceutical Council has published a statement on the issue of temporary closures of community pharmacies.

It wrote on its website:

We recognise that access to pharmacy services is an issue of utmost importance to patients, carers and their families.  

Pharmacy closures can be distressing for all involved, and potentially may raise concerns for patient safety, particularly if people cannot access the medicines and other pharmacy services many rely on.

The causes behind the level of closures that we have been seeing recently can be complex and include financial, commercial, labour market and contractual factors.

Our statement sets out how the issue of pharmacy closures relates to our role and remit as the independent regulator as well as the wider context of pharmacy service delivery.  

The GPhC noted that closures are down to “both complex and multifactorial” issues and that it does not have “a role in planning or authorising where pharmacies should be located, when they open or what they offer.”  However, it said that as regulator, it would expect “the pharmacy to make sure that they have made arrangements so that patients can get the medicines and pharmaceutical care they need.”

It stressed that “pharmacy professionals and pharmacy owners to be honest and candid when communicating the reasons for any pharmacy closures to patients and the public and to other stakeholders including NHS commissioners.”

Insight Works Training