Concern over application for pharmacy in Partridge Green
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has said that it makes “no sense” to open a pharmacy in Partridge Green if it leads to the closure of two GP surgeries in the village.
Mr Herbert was speaking at a public meeting in Storrington on Thursday night (21 August) organised by the West Sussex Primary Care Trust to discuss the North East Review, which is looking at health provision across Horsham district, Mid Sussex and Crawley.
Mr Herbert expressed his concerns after an application was submitted by M N Kolia Ltd of Leicestershire to open a pharmacy in Partridge Green. Local GPs say that a new pharmacy in the village will threaten the economic viability of two branch surgeries - the Oakleigh Surgery and Woodlawn Surgery - both of which generate some of their income by dispensing medicines to patients.
Mr Herbert said that he would be providing strong support for the local community who are calling for the application to be turned down. He confirmed that he has written to the PCT to support the efforts of local GPs, residents and councillors to block the proposal.
On 5 August, more than 100 people attended a public meeting called by West Grinstead Parish Council. At the meeting, held in Partridge Green Village Hall, local councillors and GPs relayed their concerns about the controversial application.
There was also discussion at the meeting about the Government's White Paper, ‘Pharmacy in England. Building on Strengths - Delivering the Future', published in April.
The proposals aim to give pharmacies in England a wider role - to provide new services such as health screening (e.g. for vascular disease and certain sexually transmitted diseases), offer NHS treatment for minor ailments (such as coughs and colds) and support healthier living (e.g. by continuing to help people who want to stop smoking).
However, there are particular concerns over proposals to alter contractual arrangements which may leave some GP surgeries unable to dispense medicines. Many GPs who dispense medicines from their surgery say the proposals will destabilise the current system and deprive their practices of a valuable source of income. They fear that they will be less able to invest in their practices and patients will be worse off.
Nick Herbert commented: "I am concerned that the opening of a pharmacy in Partridge Green will actually leave patients worse off than they are now. There is no sense in allowing a pharmacy to threaten the viability of two surgeries which, if lost, will leave patients having to travel further afield to access GP services. I have therefore written to the NHS to ask that they listen very carefully to the views being expressed by patients and GPs."
Mr Herbert added: "I am also taking a close interest in the Government's White Paper. GPs in Partridge Green are not alone in their concerns over the Department of Health's proposals for pharmacies. There are similar concerns in Eastergate and Yapton, for example, and I will be doing whatever I can to ensure that their voices are heard in Whitehall."
Notes for Editors
1. Comments on the application for a pharmacy in Partridge Green, submitted by M N Kolia Ltd of Leicestershire, have been received by Mrs Julie Olive, Contracts Administrator (Pharmaceutical), NHS Primary Care Support Services (PCSS), Contracts Administration, 36-38 Friars Walk, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2PB. The PCSS, hosted by East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT, serves Surrey, Sussex and South West London. For the website of the PCSS, visit http://www.pcss.nhs.uk/. A decision on the application will be made by West Sussex PCT's pharmacy committee.
2. The Oakleigh Surgery is a branch of the Cowfold Medical Group.
3. The Woodlawn Surgery is a branch of the Henfield Practice. For the website of the Henfield Practice, visit http://www.henfieldmedicalcentre.co.uk/default3.htm.
4. For more information on the North East Review, visit http://www.westsussex.nhs.uk/about-us/north-east-review/.