Delight as Leuchars pharmacy proposal is rejected
PEOPLE power looks to have saved GP services in Balmullo and Leuchars. Residents in both villages have been celebrating news that a new dispensing pharmacy in Leuchars sub post office, which they feared could cost them a surgery, has been turned down.
However, despite the public reaction, NHS Fife was tight-lipped this week.
A spokesman said that until the formal legal process following last Thursday's private meeting of the NHS's Pharmacy Practices Committee had been completed "no comment whatsoever" would be forthcoming.
North East Fife MSP Iain Smith and MP Sir Menzies Campbell said common sense had prevailed.
"The committee has rightly recognised, as the residents of the villages and further afield have been pointing out, that the post office premises are unsuitable for a pharmacy and that the present arrangements for providing pharmaceutical services are quite adequate," they said.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Ted Brocklebank, and his Tory colleagues Miles Briggs, prospective Westminster candidate for North East Fife, and Taybridgehead councillor Ron Caird, said the way the situation had been handled had not given local residents "any trust, faith or confidence" in the local NHS Board and that would have to be addressed if any appeal was forthcoming.
Carroll Finnie, who chairs Leuchars Community Council and Zoe Sanders, chair of Balmullo Community Council, said they were delighted for the GPs and their staff and the communities and praised the support from the public for the campaign.
Marie Ferguson, practice manager for Leuchars and Balmullo Village Surgeries said a great weight had been lifted off everyone's shoulders.
"We are over the moon, though we realise we are not out of the woods yet," she said.
"There is still the possibility of an appeal, but the big battle has been won."
When the plan by Glasgow-based Levenbrae Ltd. was first revealed in September, a campaign against the move quickly generated a 2000-signature petition.
Leuchars and Balmullo GPs Dr Bryan Johnston and Dr John Salamonski warned that if the pharmacy went ahead, current regulations would force them to stop dispensing medicines, leading to the closure of at least one of their surgeries.
More than 150 letters of objection were sent to the Pharmacy Practices Committee and the health board while an e-petition calling for a review of NHS legislation, was lodged with the Scottish Government.
A spokesperson for Levenbrae said: "We will examine the report and if we feel that an appeal is appropriate, we will appeal."
No-one from Leuchars sub post office was available for comment.
source: Fife Herald, Friday, December 11, 2008.