Investment in community pharmacy goes a long way

At Celesio UK, we’re celebrating the 500th reopening of our refreshed LloydsPharmacy store design. Nigel Swift, Sales and Marketing Director, shares his thoughts on this exciting news.   

It’s been over three years since we first launched our modern store design concept (European Pharmacy Network) and I’m incredibly proud that we’re continuing to invest in our bricks and mortar pharmacies.

Against a back drop of proposed funding cuts, we’re committed to keeping community pharmacy at the heart of primary care. A big part of this is being able to offer patients exceptional services in our stores; providing expert care that can ease the strain on the NHS.

On Wednesday 15 June, in Salisbury, we reopen the 500th store to have undergone this exciting evolution – an impressive milestone on our journey and certainly cause for celebration.

These transformations are not so much ‘out with the old and in with the new’, but more about adding value for patients, moving with the times and evolving our retail offering. Perhaps it’s appropriate then that the team in Salisbury are relocating from a building of historical significance; one that has housed a pharmacy since at least the 19th century.

Pharmacy Manager Emile Qureshi told me: “We’re delighted with our modern makeover. It really shows that we’re fully focussed on our patients and meeting their health needs. It’s great for the team because it gives us the capability to use our knowledge and expertise to care for the community – which is what we do best.”

I remember visiting our first reopening in Bicester back in 2013 and being blown away by the clinical opportunities that the new concept affords us; a renewed focus that enables us to deliver enhanced services for pain and skin conditions as well as creating a more inviting place for patients to visit us for health and well-being advice.

The Dispensing Health Equality report, published by industry body Pharmacy Voice recently, brings to light the importance of the relationship between pharmacy teams and the local community. So, although you might hear that retail is an increasingly lame duck these days, I believe that front line pharmacy can continue to grow. Retail is at the centre of what we do and building on-going, trusting relationships with patients is where we truly add value to the healthcare industry.

Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals around, so with increasing strain on GPs and long queue times at A & E – communities can look to us for first line support.

Five hundred is therefore more than just a number. It represents the evolution of community pharmacy and reaffirms our commitment to developing innovative primary care services and providing compelling reasons for patients to make pharmacy their first port of call.