A ‘CONTINUOUS fall in numbers’ is to blame for the impending closure of an in-store supermarket pharmacy, it has been claimed.

Criticism has been levelled at chiefs at Asda after plans to close the pharmacy in their Bodmin store at the end of July, 2024.

The closure will leave the town with only two bricks-and-mortar pharmacies with the proposed closure coming merely weeks after a Boots branch on Bell Lane closed for the final time.

Scott Mann, the MP for North Cornwall, expressed his disappointment after Asda declined to meet with MPs to discuss the closure or share the data to back up their claims. He added that he was told that a primary reason for closing the pharmacy was the lack of a full-time pharmacist available to operate the site.

However, in response, a spokesperson for the supermarket said that the closure was due to falling numbers of patients, adding that it was rolling out a direct-to-home delivery service in partnership with Pharmacy2U.

The MP had said: “Last week I wrote to ASDA to ask them about the situation at their Bodmin store, and to make the feelings of people in North Cornwall known to their management. Unfortunately, the response was not positive, and ASDA would not share any information with me concerning footfall or figures to back up their reason for the closure, citing commercial confidentiality.   “My office requested a direct meeting between ASDA and Cornish MPs, but they declined to meet with us. I am very disappointed in ASDA and their lack of engagement with me on behalf of the local community. The store in Bodmin employs local people and it is local shoppers who spend their money in the store. ASDA's profits went up 24% to £1.1bn in 2023, and it is hard to accept that the company have a good financial reason to remove the in-store pharmacy in Bodmin.

“The company also suggested that the lack of a full-time pharmacist was a primary reason for the closure, I can appreciate this is an issue for them, however, I have been contacted by pharmacists who would have been prepared to discuss taking on the service in-store. Their lack of engagement means that this offer cannot be made.   “I will continue to work on the situation concerning the pharmacy and I will be speaking to the CEO of Community Pharmacy Cornwall to discuss what other options are available to us.    “Once again, many thanks to all the constituents, and people in other parts of Cornwall who have written in to me to express their support.”

Responding to the MP, a spokesperson for Asda said: “Our Bodmin pharmacy has been loss making for a number of years due to a continuous decline in customer usage and we have now reached a position where it is no longer financially viable to keep it open. We are now entering a period of consultation with our colleagues on these proposals and will do all we can to support them through this process. “Whilst we appreciate this decision may be disappointing for some local residents, we remain committed to supporting the local community and recently launched an online prescription service which offers convenient home delivery at no extra cost.”