Replacing a closing pharmacy
I was recently approached by a young pharmacist who had become aware that one branch of a national multiple was to be closed down in a location where the multiple had 2 branches. The pharmacist had secured suitable premises from which to run a replacement pharmacy for the closing multiple branch, but was unsure about exactly when to apply for a contract and also unsure how to make a compelling case to the PCT for their proposed pharmacy to replace the closing one.
As mentioned in another blog, traditional 40 hour pharmacies have to give the PCT at least 3 months written notice of intended closure. There are however no clear regulations as to whether having given notice to close, whether the notice can then be rescinded or not. To apply to replace such a pharmacy before it has actually closed therefore runs the risk that the outgoing contractor could possibly change their mind, and stay open.
As to making the case for replacing a closed pharmacy, there is definitely no supposition that such a proposal will be welcomed or approved by a PCT. Factors the PCT will consider include the adequacy of local service provision relative to current and planned population, additional services that may be offered that the PCT commission, the PNA, and “choice” although few contracts if any have been won on the concept of “choice” alone.
Successfully gaining a NHS dispensing contract clearly has a significant value, yet few independent pharmacists seem willing to make even a modest investment in specialist advice to make their dream of pharmacy ownership much more likely to be achieved.