Leuchars pharmacy 'no threat to surgeries'
Leuchars pharmacy 'no threat to surgeries'. The man behind plans to establish a pharmacy in Leuchars post office has dismissed as 'utter nonsense' claims that the move would threaten local GPs' surgeries.
Drs Bryan Johnston and John Salamonski, who have surgeries in Leuchars and Balmullo, confirmed this week that they are to lodge an appeal against the controversial decision by NHS Fife pharmacy practices committee to grant the application, despite having rejected an almost identical one just a few weeks beforehand.
They say that the income that's generated from dispensing prescriptions is re-invested in improving services and that the new pharmacy could lead to the closure of one or both of their surgeries.
But James Semple, a partner with Fraser MacPherson and Partners, has defended the committee's decision, claiming that current pharmaceutical services in Leuchars are 'inadequate' and that the new pharmacy will complement rather than compromise the practice.
He said it was important for people to draw the distinction between a dispensing service and a community pharmacy, which would offer a range of services not currently available.
He claimed the campaign against the application was fuelled by the 'false belief' that the facility would close a surgery.
"Community pharmacies such as this one are being established in retail premises in villages and towns all over Scotland," said Mr Semple.
"Losing a dispensing facility couldn't possibly impact on the surgery as general medical services are funded separately and not dependent on money raised from dispensing.
"In any case, there is nothing to stop the GPs from applying to open a pharmacy themselves."
Mr Semple stressed that there was no connection between Fraser MacPherson and Partners and Levenbrae Ltd., whose application was thrown out in May.
He explained that the two were among several similar companies who shared an accountant, and it was his address on both applications.
The post office premises this week received ministerial approval for use as a pharmacy, and while Mr Semple acknowledged that they were 'not ideal', he would do everything possible to make them as user-friendly as possible.
Drs Johnston and Salamonski have until September 11 to lodge their appeal and practice manager Marie Ferguson said they were as 'confident as they could be' that the decision would be overturned.
"Obviously we were shocked when this second application was lodged so soon after the first one was rejected and there are so many similarities that nothing could possibly have changed in such a short space of time," she said.
In the meantime, two further public meetings have been arranged, one in Leuchars on September 16 and the other in Balmullo the following day.
The committee approved the application on the basis that existing pharmaceutical provision is not adequate, though they noted that the post office premises were 'not ideal'.
source: Fife Herald, Friday, August 28, 2009
By Liz Rougvie