New North Somerset GPs' surgery can't dispense drugs, leaving patients to walk a mile to old practice to collect medicine
PATIENTS are being forced to travel a mile or more to collect medicines because of a legal challenge preventing their medical surgery from opening an on-site pharmacy.
Wrington Vale Medical Practice, which cares for 9,000 patients, had hoped to open a dispensary at its new state of the art £3million surgery at Pudding Pie Lane, Churchill, which opened in December.
As part of the plan to relocate the dispensary, North Somerset PCT had to confirm the new surgery was in what was classed as a rural area.
Under PCT rules, a practice in a rural area is able to dispense drugs from its own on-site pharmacy while in urban areas, doctors can only issue prescriptions with patients having to collect medicines from their nearest chemist.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
The PCT had confirmed that the new surgery was in a rural area, paving the way for practice managers to move forward with plans to open a dispensary.
But the scheme has been held up after Touts Budgens, which has a supermarket and garage in Langford, made a legal challenge to the decision, claiming Churchill and Langford were in fact in an urban area.
The challenge has meant that plans to relocate the dispensary have been put on hold until NHS litigators visit the area and make a decision on which category the villages fall into
If the PCT legal experts agree it is a rural area then the pharmacy can open at the new centre. If they lie in an urban area, no medicines will be able to be dispensed from the surgery.
Litigators were due to visit the village on Friday.
In the meantime the dispensary at the former medical surgery in Churchill, which closed last year, has remained open to supply medicines to patients.
But this means that some patients, many of which are elderly, have to walk a mile from the new medical centre to the dispensary to collect medicines or travel to the chemist at Wrington.
Patient John Adams, 66, of Redhill, said: "This legal challenge is affecting the most vulnerable people in our community.
"Patients, some of which are elderly and do not drive, are having to walk a mile in the recent bad weather to collect medicines.
"This is not only putting a strain on patients but also doctors and dispensing staff."
It is understood that Touts Budgens made the challenge because it wants to open a pharmacy at its site in Langford.
A spokesman for North Somerset PCT said: "The doctors and entire practice team have expressed their deep regret that patients are having to suffer the inconvenience of the dispensary remaining at Churchill surgery.
"If a practice wishes to move the physical location of its dispensary, it has to put in a formal application to the local PCT (Primary Care Trust) and a defined due process has to be followed. There is currently an appeal with the NHS Litigation Authority as to whether the area of Langford and Churchill is rural in nature.
"A panel from the Litigation Authority will soon be visiting the area in connection with this.
"The surgery is still able to give out drugs to our dispensing patients, but they have to go up to the old surgery at Churchill, which is where the dispensary and dispensing staff are obliged to remain working until such time as they may be allowed to move the dispensary from the old Churchill surgery into the new purpose built dispensary in Pudding Pie Lane."
No one from Touts Budgens, which has stores in Wraxall, Langford and Cheddar, was available for comment.