NHS key to Co-op Pharmacy rebrand

Well will offer services typically sought at GPs, including flu jabs

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The Independent Online

The boss of the rebranded Co-op Pharmacy business will today announce plans to relieve the pressure on the NHS by taking on patients with minor illnesses as part of a £200m investment drive.

John Nuttall is unveiling the rebrand to its new name, Well, after the £620m acquisition of the pharmacy arm, sold by the troubled mutual to Bestway Group last October. Its stores will gradually be renamed over the next eight months.

Mr Nuttall told The Independent: “A&Es and hospitals across the country are clogged up with patients with minor illnesses. We are leaning on the NHS and government to allow access to public care.”

Well will offer services typically sought at GPs, including flu jabs, “for a fraction of the cost”. Mr Nuttall estimates an average patient costs the NHS £40, compared to £12 if they visit a pharmacy.

Bestway, which was founded by Conservative party donor Sir Anwar Pervez with one convenience store in 1963 and has an annual turnover of around £3.5bn, plans to increase the chain’s revenues to £1bn by 2019, from £750m.

The Bestway chief executive Zameer Choudrey bought the chain to complement his growing family business empire which encompasses the 4,000-store Best-one and Xtra Local convenience store brands, as well as Pakistan’s second-largest cement manufacturer and second-largest private bank.

Mr Choudrey aims to increase the percentage of care homes it supplies with pharmaceutical products, currently 5 per cent.