UK Healthcare Pavilion: John Bell & Croyden

Q&A - 8TH MARCH 2021

In the latest of a regular series of Q&As with participants in the UK Healthcare Pavilion, a showcase for the UK’s world-class life sciences and healthcare sector, James Gray of the historic John Bell & Croyden pharmacy answers our questions

The UK Healthcare Pavilion has launched, showcasing the UK’s world-class life sciences and healthcare sector. The Howard de Walden Estate is thrilled to partner with this unique new platform, which features some of our renowned hospitals, consultant clinics and specialists here within the world-famous Harley Street Medical Area (HSMA). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting some of these organisations as part of our new Q&A series.

This week, we speak to James Gray, healthcare services manager at John Bell & Croyden, pharmacists to Her Majesty The Queen.

Give us an overview of John Bell & Croyden and what you specialise in.
John Bell & Croyden is renowned for being a luxury pharmacy and beauty, health and wellness emporium. We are proud to hold the royal warrant as pharmacists to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our iconic store is based in the HSMA and we’re a multi-channel healthcare and wellness provider. A lot of people will be familiar with our large retail store where we have thousands of products available, but there are also a lot of other healthcare services that we offer to our customers, such as our in-house GP, alongside the wellness services that we offer through our pharmacy, for instance diabetes checks, blood pressure, cholesterol, and an in-house dietician. We pride ourselves in providing bespoke and truly holistic health solutions under one roof.

Can you tell us more about the store’s 222-year history?
John Bell & Croyden has held the royal warrant since 1909 and been pharmacists to Her Majesty The Queen for almost 60 years. Our history stretches back over 200 years when pharmacist John Bell (whose son Jacob went on to found the Pharmaceutical Society – now The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain) originally opened his eponymous business on Oxford Street, before relocating to Wigmore Street, where we have served customers since 1912. We marked our centenary at our current location in 2012. In autumn 2015, we relaunched our heritage store as a pioneering health and wellness emporium, bringing to life our vision of a modern and distinctive pharmacy destination in the capital city. Our store now features four specialist clinics and over 12,000 products from around the world – comprising new and exclusive beauty brands and award-winning British names – as well as a range of healthcare and wellbeing products and services.

James Grey of John Bell & Croyden

James Grey of John Bell & Croyden

What would you say are the benefits of being located within Harley Street Medical Area?

It is a privilege to be a part of this amazing community. As a pharmacy with an extensive range of services and solutions, we also service hospitals, clinics, health professionals and wholesalers, and being immersed in the prestigious Harley Street Medical Area, renowned worldwide as the UK's medical centre of excellence, means we have access to an extensive network through which we can best support our customers.

Tell us more about the healthcare services that customers can access in-store.
We have an extensive range of healthcare and wellness services in store, including our InResidence Health clinics offering simple health checks, alongside private GP services and a travel clinic. We also offer a range of NHS services, including prescription and emergency supplies, as well as flu vaccinations. We are looking to introduce phlebotomy soon, which is handy for anyone who has any general health concerns or wants something more specific that they want us to look into. One thing we’re talking about a lot at the moment, of course, is our COVID-19 testing. We have same-day and next-day services available in store, and we have recently begun administering COVID-19 vaccines as part of the government programme. Altogether, we have a great range of healthcare services available for customers. As a pharmacy, we strive towards delivering expert advice and cutting-edge services in London in line with the needs of our community.

How do you feel those needs have evolved in recent years? Has the role of the pharmacy itself changed?
Community pharmacists have begun taking on more of the clinical roles that have traditionally been undertaken by doctors – and certainly COVID-19 has caused a paradigm shift. Pharmacists have seen a huge surge in demand for their services during the pandemic, as patients have struggled to access other healthcare providers, such as GPs, dentists and hospitals. During lockdown, pharmacies kept their doors open, offering advice and guidance in a truly unique and vital way. Across the country, pharmacists have also introduced amazing new services, such as drive-through. At John Bell & Croyden, customers have been able to access same-day and next-day testing, which has been hugely popular. Today, life-saving coronavirus vaccinations are being administered by hundreds of community pharmacists. Within our own pharmacy, we are currently vaccinating approximately 1000 patients per week.

Pharmacists have always been the most accessible healthcare providers, and at a time of stretched resources, the pandemic has allowed pharmacists to show their true potential and allowed customers to find the real value of the pharmacist, who (apart from prescriptions) exist as a crucial entity capable of addressing their health needs, scares and concerns.