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Sainsbury’s to take over outpatient pharmacies at SE1 hospitals

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust has signed a controversial partnership deal with Sainsbury's which will see the supermarket chain take over outpatient pharmacy services at the two hospitals.

New Salomon Centre
Sainsbury's will initially open a pharmacy in this building on Great Maze Pond with a food store to follow later.

Since the proposal was announced the partnership has attracted fierce opposition from trade unions who have staged protests outside local Sainsbury's stores.

The deal had also been opposed by Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey who described the privatisation of the outpatient pharmacies as "the thin end of the wedge" at the trust's recent annual public meeting.

Sainsbury's group commercial director Mike Coupe said: "This is a very exciting partnership and we're really looking forward to working with the trust. We are confident that our extensive experience of running our own pharmacies, combined with the knowledge we have gained from managing the outpatient pharmacy in the James Cook University Hospital, means we will be able to deliver a great level of service for the NHS, trust and wider community.

"We are confident that patients will enjoy the benefits of Sainsbury's managing the outpatient pharmacies. We plan on opening the pharmacies seven days a week and for longer hours. Alongside the outpatient facility Sainsbury's will provide a full community prescription dispensing service."

Ron Kerr, chief executive of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are pleased to be working in partnership with Sainsbury's to deliver our outpatient pharmacy dispensing services as we believe this will bring a number of benefits for our patients, as well as staff.

"The pharmacy services will be open for longer hours each day, and at Guy's the new service will make it easier for patients attending the urgent care centre to get their prescriptions dispensed before they leave the hospital. Staff and patients will also be able to buy a range of over the counter medicines and toiletries."

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