It gives us great pleasure to finally be able to announce that the rumour was true; we are moving to the Bank Court site at 10 Manor Road, Verwood, BH31 6DW, commonly known as the former Lloyds Bank premises in town.
We will be opening at 8am on Monday the 26th June and are really proud to be able to show you our state of the art premises for the first time. There will be some light refreshments available on the day (whilst stocks last) to celebrate this new era of pharmacy in Verwood, so why not pop in and see for yourselves! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the below concept images from our designers.
Concept drawing of new entrance
This of course means that our current Lake Road site will be closing on Saturday the 24th June after 10 years in operation at Lake Road Surgery. Whilst we know that many customers are excited about the opportunities that our new premises will bring, we of course understand that a few will be disappointed to see us moving out. We too will be a little nostalgic, as we close the doors on this chapter of our company’s history.
Now that we have a chance to finally unveil our fantastic new site, we hope that any concerns about the move will soon be allayed and everyone will see the bigger picture of the benefits this offers the whole community. We’ll be moving location, but you’ll still be served by the same great team and we’ll be offering an expanded range of services and products to meet Verwood’s needs.
Concept of the shop and treatment rooms looking towards the counter
Many will be aware that recent years have seen huge pressures on the pharmacy industry and there have been record numbers of pharmacy closures; see the great work being done by the Save our Pharmacies campaign for more details.
Verwood residents will be familiar with this via Lloyds Pharmacy, historically the largest operator in the UK, and you may have seen news articles about closures of their entire Sainsbury’s operation, as well as multiple other stores.
Fortunately, we were able to take over the Station Road branch, meaning continuity of service to patients. However, many others, including all Sainsbury’s branches, may close. Other major multiple contractors have also been reducing their footprint in recent years due to tough market conditions, which can lead to reduced pharmaceutical services on offer in towns.
Concept of the shop and two consultation rooms looking towards the door
The face of pharmacy is also undergoing change. With electronic prescriptions, repeat dispensing and new tools to order prescriptions, the sector had already moved away from the traditional model of ‘go to your GP, get a prescription, then go to your pharmacy to pick up your medication’. Indeed, we estimate in excess of 95% of customers attending the pharmacy have not been to the surgery directly before collecting their prescription. Instead, pharmacy has been shown to be able to offer real benefits in reducing pressures on the NHS through other services provided by the highly trained staff. However, this has been widely underutilised in the past.
This is beginning to change in line with the NHS vision. Newly qualified pharmacists will soon be ‘Independent Prescribers’ on qualification, allowing them to offer a much larger range of services. The government has also finally announced funding in pharmacy services through a ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme. The future of pharmacy is of course still in supplying medication safely and effectively to patients, but it is also much more than that. It means being able to offer a range of health and wellbeing services that complement those in other primary healthcare settings. However, many pharmacy premises were not intended for this and may struggle to adapt to these new demands.
Concept of the pharmacy counter and waiting area
That is why we are so proud to be able to launch our flagship new store, which we believe will offer Verwood amongst the finest pharmacy facilities in Dorset. When the final phases are completed, this will have been the result of an estimated investment of around £0.75 million in the town, at a time that pharmacy services elsewhere may be reducing. During phase 1 we will only be opening the ground floor of the building, but that will deliver around a 350% increase in space compared with the current site, including 4 large consultation/ treatment rooms to provide healthcare services to the community. In fact, the consultation rooms alone are almost the same size as the entire pharmacy footprint at Lake Road!
A much larger shop area and expanded OTC medicine counter space will allow us to stock a wider range of health, wellbeing and beauty products to meet your needs. Additionally, those who have seen the dispensary area at Lake Road will appreciate the difficult working environment for our staff, with often 4 people squeezed into the tight dispensary space to supply and check your medication. As you will soon see, our new dispensary allows significantly more staff to work comfortably in parallel, meaning in the long-term we will be able to deliver a faster, safer, more efficient service with greater capacity for growth.
Concept view from the pharmacy counter across the shop
You may wonder why it has taken a seemingly long time to announce this since Verwood Today broke the news back in January; yes, they were absolutely on the ball!
Well, it became apparent in December 2022 that Verwood Pharmacy and The Cranborne Practice both had business needs that were incompatible going forwards, primarily space related issues that couldn’t be resolved at the surgery site. As a side note, another positive impact of this move is the enhanced facilities the surgery will soon be able to offer in the space we are vacating. Hence, with the upcoming expiry of our lease, we started looking for a new home, and as luck would have it (for us anyway) Lloyds Bank had just vacated the Bank Court location, risking a major town centre facility being empty for the foreseeable future.
After tracking down the landlord (who the bank hadn’t actually informed yet!) the convoluted process of lease negotiations began, complicated by the fact it was a 3-way negotiation with Lloyds Bank having to simultaneously surrender their existing lease. At the time Verwood Today broke the story, these negotiations had only just started, with the Planning submission that revealed this being simply to see whether we would be able to operate at the site. We’d like to thank our new landlord and their managing agent for the huge help they have given in pushing this through as quickly as possible to meet our need to move by the end of June.
The lease was eventually concluded on the 4th May and since then we have been working with our pharmacy specialist and award winning shop-fitters Black Circle to deliver on our plans. We’re sure you will agree that they have done a fabulous job.
Concept of the large new dispensary area
Alongside the premises negotiations come the contractual and regulatory requirements with bodies such as the NHS and GPhC. Elements of this are still being finalised, so we ask you to bear with us for a little longer and we will confirm more details of operation over the coming week leading up to our opening.
We will start by releasing more details about how our exciting new collection machine will work; allowing you to collect your prescriptions from the premises 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at your own leisure. This is a first for the town and a rarity for the area as a whole. We think you will love the convenience it offers and our wonderful staff will be delighted to show you how it works.
We’d also like to reassure customers that our delivery service will be continuing as normal, so you will still be able to use this to get prescriptions and other items delivered directly to your door. Indeed, the new enhanced space in Bank Court allows a dedicated area for preparing your deliveries, so we hope this will help to make an already great service even smoother!
Customers of our Station Road site should be reassured that service continues there as normal, but with our teams now able to work much more collaboratively to supply better care to the whole town.
Looking ahead, over the coming months we will continue to release more news, as we move onto Phase 2 of the project, where we will start new services and begin renovating the 1st floor to expand our offering. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you to the new store on the 26th June, as a new era of pharmacy comes to Verwood.