Save UK Pharmacies!
Letters to the
- I would be most grateful if you would consider publishing this letter. It highlights an issue of very great importance to the people of Formby. I should be happy to discuss it with you further should you wish clarification or to follow up with an article.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has recently published a report recommending that all regulations governing the opening of pharmacies (chemists) should be removed. The government is now deciding whether to accept this recommendation. Currently, pharmacies may only be opened where there is judged (by an expert panel of the Health Authority) to be a real need. The abolition of these regulations would make it possible to open a pharmacy absolutely anywhere. This would certainly result in the opening of pharmacies around surgeries and in supermarkets (such as Tesco and Safeway) and would threaten the viability of smaller pharmacies in residential areas, such as my own pharmacy.
The victims would be residents of such areas
- – particularly the elderly, the housebound, and mums with young children
- – who will lose a vital community service. To have to get in a car (if you have access to one) for every prescription to be dispensed, to have to go to a supermarket every time you want to treat yourself for a minor ailment or you want advice – that will be the effect.
- Will such pharmacies offer the personal service that is vital to maintain dignity and independence?
- Will they know your name and your circumstances – so important to help pick up some problems (such as a side-effect from a medicine you are taking)?
- Will they deliver to your house if you can’t get out?
- Will they stock oxygen or other things needed in an emergency?
- Will profit be their primary concern, rather than providing a friendly, personal service to the people they serve?
- Will they be staffed by a procession of different pharmacists who you will never get to know?
- I pride myself on really getting to know the people I have had the privilege of serving in the 12 years since I took over this pharmacy, many of whom enjoyed a similar personal service from Mrs Thorpe for almost 20 years. If you want to safeguard the future of this service, you must act now. Write to your MP stating your objection to the OFT proposals, and come into the pharmacy to sign our petition.
Walker B.Sc., DipCommPharm, M.Sc., M.R.Pharm.S.
Walker’s Pharmacy, 62 Harington Road.
AS we were in
the chemist, all the customers who came in were shocked at the
suggestion that Pharmaceutical services could be springing up all
over with out strict regulations in place at present.
One customer said "It is not a question of freedom of commercial
practices, but one of personal service that is at stake. The
government has tried this approach with so many other things and
it only results in alot of problems and small groups going to the
wall. It is also a question of confidentiality between a qualified
pharmacist, who knows his or her customers and the customers who know the chemist,
that's at stake. You could never get the same degree of service in
a Supermarket. It is a bad move to introduce any act that
allows any one to open up as a chemist, as it will loose trust in
a well established and very well run service." Another
customer added "That's not counting the loss of
businesses that are vital to the elderly and disabled, who might
not be able to get to large stores, who will, with out a doubt put
small family run stalls out of business. Not to mention the
loss of jobs and community spirit ."
you want to sign the Petition that is being circulated around Pharmacists
through out Sefton and beyond, you can call into in the Walkers Pharmacy
on Harrington Road or any other Pharmacy in Formby.
sent by David
Walker to MP. Clair Thomas.
Report on the Control of Entry Regulations 2003 (Pharmacies)
are deeply concerned by some of the proposals within this
main ‘worry’ is the potential detrimental impact on the most
vulnerable in our society. Deregulation cannot guarantee easy
access to Pharmacies and by its nature is likely to result in a
much more commercially driven distribution of Pharmacies – e.g.
clusters around GP surgeries or within large supermarkets etc.
1969, our Pharmacy has served a local community where most of our
patients are elderly, infirm, small children, disabled or dying.
The majority of these patients live within walking distance of the
Pharmacy and benefit from a personal identity and service within
the Pharmacy community. Our [patients are generally pleased to be
able to make the journey to the Pharmacy by themselves and pleased
to be able to speak with a pharmacist who knows them, their
medical history and their personal situation - Providing
independence, dignity, conversation and confidence to many
patients who are housebound and dependant upon others for
demise of local communities is highlighted in the ‘Ghost Town
Britain’ report. It is timely to remember the massive power of
the Supermarkets – local specialist shops are disappearing all
over the country. For our community, implementation of the OFT
recommendations would result in:
some more ‘remote’ pharmacies see a delivery as overcoming the
difficulties patients have in accessing them, a delivery service
by driver can never substitute for the personal contact with a
pharmacist in a pharmacy at the heart of their community.
is a fundamental incompatibility between a very de-regulated
market and the Government’s commitment to deliver a well-planned
NHS pharmacy network. If the OFT recommendation is accepted, the
distribution of Pharmacies will be governed SOLEY by
considerations of maximum profitability, rather than the
delivering of rational pharmaceutical services to patients.
the OFT’s recommendation is accepted, there is a very real
risk to the existing Pharmaceutical service in Formby (see
attached map showing the distribution of Pharmacies and GP
surgeries in Formby).
Tesco in Altcar will almost certainly open a Pharmacy. They have
applied twice already under the existing regulations and been
turned down on the basis that such a pharmacy is not ‘necessary
The opening of this Pharmacy is likely to make our Pharmacy
unviable due to
reduction in prescription volume and medicine sales, existing
recent pressures from the relocation of a surgery from Duke Street
to Chapel Lane (next door to a Pharmacy), which resulted in a 15%
reduction in dispensing value.
The impact of Safeway and Tesco on ‘shop sales’ since
this Pharmacy were to close, there would be no Pharmacy to
the West of the railway, and all other pharmacies would be next to
surgeries or in a supermarket. This would affect greatly upon
access for those who are less mobile and more vulnerable. As well
as restricting their choice of dispensing service, it would make
it more difficult for them to buy medicines, and to seek the
advice, which so often avoids the need for a GP visit.
services are expanding. Pharmacists are embracing a wider role.
Certainly, our pharmacy contributes to lessening the GPs workload
and provides patient focused care within the local community. Care
in the community is the way forward and we are in the heart of
purpose is not just to provide a dispensing service but personal
care to our patients. It is when we are at our most vulnerable
that we need a personal identity and someone who knows us well
eases the pain of helplessness. Independence is something the
young and healthy take for granted but it becomes very precious
when it starts to slip away from us.
believe that the current legislation guards the availability and
access to local pharmaceutical services in a manageable manner.
The proposed deregulation can only serve to rob the vulnerable in
society of the individual service they currently enjoy.