Today, Rowlands Pharmacy is announcing a proposal to review opening hours across its pharmacies in England and move towards the core hours it is contracted to provide. The majority of our pharmacies in England open beyond core contracted hours and that is a cost we can no longer sustain.
This proposal does not apply to Rowlands’ pharmacies in Scotland and Wales where funding arrangements are more robust.
The changes required are currently being discussed with pharmacy branch colleagues. A final decision is anticipated by the end of the month.
Rowlands has proposed this change as a direct consequence of the funding austerity facing community pharmacy in England which has made the network economically unsustainable. Government funding for community pharmacy in England has been capped over the next five years which in real terms, taking account of rising costs and inflation, means a reduction in funding.
On average, we anticipate a reduction of 10 hours per branch each working week. We believe the impact on customers will be minimal and we will ensure they are informed well in advance before opening hours change.
Rowlands reiterates that with a pledge of £34bn in new funding for the NHS now is the time for the Government to invest in community pharmacy and reverse the decline in the network which has seen hundreds of pharmacies close at a time when GP surgeries and A&E departments are struggling to cope with demand.