A NEWCASTLE pharmaceutical group has acquired a new premises in Whitley Bay to support its Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Welcome Health Pharmacies was founded in 2016 after acquiring its first pharmacy in Skelton. Since then the business has added four further chemists to its portfolio in locations across Teesside and North Tyneside and is hoping to add new sites over the coming years.

Over the course of the pandemic, Welcome has worked closely with the NHS to assist with the vaccine rollout, with the firm’s Whitley Bay pharmacy acting as a key site for vaccination administrations.

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The business hopes to continue supporting the NHS with the Phase 3 booster vaccination programme. To ensure a smooth rollout, the firm has decided to move to a larger premises in the town that will allow more patients to be seen and new services to be added.

To facilitate the move, Welcome approached Lloyds Bank, receiving a six-figure funding package along with a refinancing agreement.

The financial support helped the business acquire a new three-storey pharmacy on Whitley Road, doubling the size of the firm’s current base. The new 2,500 sq ft premises is undergoing a full refurbishment and will open its doors in December.

The firm’s Whitley Bay branch now plans to grow its team from four to eight employees, a move which will take the number of employees at the firm to over 60.

Vaibhav Chhatwal, director of Welcome Health Pharmacies, said: “Our teams across all five of our pharmacies have played a key role in the vaccine rollout. With Phase 3 now underway, we wanted to do everything possible to help the local community.


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