Nick Herbert visits GP surgery to discuss pharmacy changes

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has paid a visit to a local GP practice in Eastergate to discuss concerns about a new White Paper published by the Government.


Mr Herbert met with GPs Ian Buchanan, Andrew Bridger, Sue Rose and Practice Manager Judith Walker at the Croft Practice in Barnham Road, Eastergate.

The White Paper, ‘Pharmacy in England. Building on Strengths - Delivering the Future' was published by the Department of Health 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 the contractual arrangements for dispensing medicines, which may leave some GP surgeries unable to compete with commercial pharmacies.  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.

Dr Buchanan commented: "We were very pleased to see Nick here at the surgery last week.  It was a good opportunity to tell him, as our local MP, about the concerns we have over the Government's plans to prevent doctors from dispensing medicines for their patients.  

"Whilst we support certain aspects of the Pharmacy White Paper in its proposals to improve pharmaceutical services for the local communities, this should not be at the expense of dispensing doctors, who currently provide a valuable service, which is appreciated by their patients.  

"We are extremely concerned that if dispensing were removed, this would have a negative impact on our practice and make it more difficult for us to invest in new facilities and services for patients in the Five Villages."

Nick Herbert commented: "I was delighted to be invited to visit the Croft Practice and to meet the staff and GPs there.  I was pleased to hear their views on the Government's proposals for pharmacies and I will be writing to the Minister of Health to pass on their concerns."

Mr Herbert added: "GPs in the Five Villages are not alone in their concerns over the Government's proposals for pharmacies.  There are similar concerns in Partridge Green and Henfield, for example, and I will be doing whatever I can to ensure that their voices are heard in Whitehall."

The Croft Practice provides GP services to 10,400 patients at surgeries in Eastergate, Yapton and Walberton.



Notes for Editors

1. The White Paper, entitled ‘Pharmacy in England. Building on Strengths - Delivering the Future' can be downloaded at

2. The Department of Health's news release, to coincide with publication of the White Paper, can be viewed at

Alexander Black