Unauthorised Closure of Pharmacies

Unauthorised Closure of Pharmacies

There may be occasions when a contractor is unable to open its premises for a reason that is beyond its control.

This includes:

• flooding of premises;

• lack of electricity;

• premises have been broken into; and

• Pharmacist has not arrived.

It does not include planned refurbishment. It also does not include situations where the pharmacy occupies part of a larger building and the rest of the premises are closed as it is expected that contractors will have put in place arrangements to ensure they are able to fulfil their terms of service regarding their core and supplementary opening hours.

We would suggest that ensuring your local surgery/surgeries are aware of the closure as soon as possible is vital in all cases, and clearly such communication is also necessary to allow a temporary change in such matters as GP-CPCS referrals. If known, please share the expected duration of the closure, along with other relevant information such as if staff are still on the premises to answer queries. Unless agreed otherwise locally, this notification should normally be by email to the practice generic email address (as shown on NHS Service Finder . If a closure is last minute, you may also try to call the surgery bypass/non-public number, also available on the service finder. We would advise all pharmacies to note these contact details in advance and have them readily accessible.

Where there is a temporary closure outside of the contractor’s control they are required by the 2013 Regulations to notify the NHS England Area Team (AT).

Norfolk contractors need to notify any closures via the following email address:


The following information should be provided to enable the AT to determine whether any follow up action is required.

Pharmacy name and address
Name of person reporting closure
Date of closure
Times of closure
Reason for closure
Detail what arrangements have been made for patients


If the closure is for part of a day please remember to inform the Area Team when the pharmacy has reopened.

Please remember to display a notice to customers to inform them of the situation and the nearest pharmacies.

The Pharmacy should take whatever action it can in the circumstances to mitigate any inconvenience to its patients and other users of the pharmacy and make every effort to inform local interested parties of the details of the temporary suspension.

Clients receiving pharmacy services for supervised consumption/daily CD collection can be left especially vulnerable when a pharmacy is unable to open at short notice. Pharmacies providing these services should give careful consideration as to how this patient group can be supported should the pharmacy be unable to open. Please make sure you have notified local commissioners and providers supporting you to provide this sort of service. 

Depending on how long the temporary suspension will or may last and the impact this will have on the provision of pharmaceutical services it may be necessary for the AT to direct another contractor to open on different days or at different times. The AT will look to inform local interested parties where the temporary suspension is likely to last for more than one day..

The AT will review the reason for the temporary suspension and where it appears to be within the control of the contractor, and therefore a potential breach of a pharmacy’s terms and conditions the AT will pass the notification to pharmaceutical services regulations committee. The committee will then decide what, if any, further action to take under the policy and procedure for managing the performance of providers of pharmaceutical services.

Where a contractor knows in advance that it will not be able to open its premises it may request a temporary suspension of services for a set period. Three months’ notice must be given. Where less than three months’ notice has been given the request will be returned to the contractor advising that it has been refused.

PSNC Briefing 019/20: Emergency closure checklist for community pharmacy