Pharmacies scent victory

TWO village pharmacies are claiming victory in a 19-month battle with doctors over dispensing rights.An appeals committee ruled that doctors in Long Melford could not go forward with plans to directly dispense medicine in areas that will take custom from the chemists in Lavenham and Long Melford.

TWO village pharmacies are claiming victory in a 19-month battle with doctors over dispensing rights.

An appeals committee ruled that doctors in Long Melford could not go forward with plans to directly dispense medicine in areas that will take custom from the chemists in Lavenham and Long Melford.

Doctors at the Long Melford Practice appealed against the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Health Authority's decision not to allow them to dispense medicines to patients in a number of villages directly from its surgeries in Lavenham and Long Melford.

The decision was made on the grounds the move would prejudice the pharmaceutical services in Lavenham.


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The doctors took their case to the Family Health Services Appeal Authority, which has unanimously concluded not to grant the application in full, because of the concerns raised over the viability of the two pharmacies.

Although the doctors have been granted permission to dispense to nine smaller parishes in the area, they have been refused the right to dispense to patients in Acton, Great Waldingfield, Long Melford and Lavenham.

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Chris Jay, of Lavenham Pharmacy, is delighted by the decision, which he says has ultimately saved his business.

"Lavenham Pharmacy receives only a few prescriptions from the parishes where the application has been granted thus their loss will not prejudice our pharmaceutical services. However, we do dispense many prescriptions in the other larger villages and we are delighted that the panel has rejected the application from these areas.

"It has been 19 months since the medical practice first applied to dispense for the rural areas and we are delighted the appeals panel has in essence upheld the decision made locally. It means our future is secure for the present time and we can continue to offer our vital services to the community."

Philip Graham who owns the G.M. Graham Pharmacy in Long Melford said: "I am satisfied with the decision although what effect it might have in the future is still an unknown quantity, but at this time we are no longer threatened with being put out of business."

The parishes where the doctors now can dispense are Alpheton, Bradfield Combust, Stanningfield, Bradfield St Clare, Brockely, Chilton, Edwardstone, Hartest, Hawstead, Lawshall, Newton, Shimpling, Somerton, Stanstead, and Whepstead.

No comment was available from the practice.

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