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Health village experiment proves a failure
8:00am Friday 4th January 2013 in News
A PHARMACY and healthcare provider has admitted an experiment to offer a number of healthcare services under one roof on Lakeside Retail Park has failed.
The Health Village, which opened little over a year ago, closed its doors on December 31, causing around 50 jobs to be lost.
Lloyds Pharmacy was responsible for the development, which brought together a number of healthcare businesses, including opticians Vision Express, hearing business Hidden Hearing, clinical dermatology experts Sk:n and physiotherapists Connect Physical Health within one “health village” centre.
Within the building, which previously housed JJB Sports, was also a day spa, a cafe and all Lloyds Pharmacy’s normal pharmaceutical services.
It was opened on December 6, 2011, by Thurrock’s young citizen of the year Katherine Merchant. Her grandfather, Jack Button, 80, was given a state-of-the-art hearing system after being the first customer.
Planning permission was granted for the site by the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation. At the time, committee member Sunny Crouch called the proposal “a really interesting additional amenity for the people of Thurrock”.
Lloyds Pharmacy first opened a health village on a retail park in Brent Cross. That site is also set to close.
A spokesman for the company said: “We have been piloting a health village concept which involved Lloyds Pharmacy working with external partners to locate certain patient and consumer services alongside traditional community pharmacy services.
“The concept of locating a mix of services under one roof is sound and customer feedback has been positive.
“However, we found when people visit large retail parks, where the health villages are located, they are more focused on shopping rather than seeking healthcare advice.
“We are now looking at how we can provide a broad range of services in a community setting, which is where the vast majority of Lloyds Pharmacy stores are based.
“As a business, Lloyds Pharmacy remains committed to pushing the boundaries to improve patient access to healthcare in the UK.”