Village GP's pharmacy saved from closure

RESIDENTS in an Essex village have told of their delight after learning their pharmacy dispensary has been saved from closure.

Lizzie Parry

RESIDENTS in an Essex village have told of their delight after learning their pharmacy dispensary has been saved from closure.

The service at the GP's surgery in Rowhedge, near Colchester, had been threatened after plans to open a pharmacy in Wivenhoe were put forward.

Current legislation prohibits practices within 1.6km of a pharmacy from dispensing drugs, but despite the surgery being just a few hundred yards from the site of the new pharmacy they are separated by the River Colne and the nearest crossing is a three mile drive away.


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Local residents had protested at the proposals and in June grandmothers Elizabeth Trellis, 74, and Jo Brennan, 68, organised a swim across the river to highlight the only direct route they could have taken.

Last night Mrs Trellis said villagers were “jumping for joy” after learning of the decision to keep the dispensary open.

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“We are all very pleased, we are jumping up and down with pleasure,” she said. “The nearest pharmacy is 2.5 miles away and for some residents it would have been impossible to get their medication.”

The decision - which was made by the North Essex Primary Care Trust's pharmacy services committee last Thursday - was also welcomed by the surgery's practice manager, Maureen Phillips.

She thanked people for their support and said “common sense had prevailed.”

“It is wonderful news,” she said. “It is great for our patients and we can continue to provide a service which all our patients are very supportive of.

“A lot of people would have found it very difficult to pick up their medication from Wivenhoe. The decision by the PCT stated that the application for an additional pharmacy was found to be neither necessary nor desirable. They have acknowledged it would be impossible for some people to make that journey.”

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