Rural ruling's what doctor ordered
PATIENTS may soon be able to collect medicines from an on-site pharmacy at their new GP practice in Churchill.
People using Wrington Vale Medical Practice were being forced to travel a mile or more to collect prescriptions because of a legal challenge preventing the surgery from opening an on-site pharmacy.
The practice, which cares for 9,000 patients, had applied to North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) to open a dispensary at its new state-of-the-art £3-million surgery at Pudding Pie Lane 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.
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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.
The PCT had confirmed that the new surgery was in a rural area. But the scheme was 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.
It is understood that Touts Budgens made the challenge because it wants to open a pharmacy at its site in Langford. The challenge meant that plans to relocate the dispensary were put on hold until NHS litigators visited the area to make a decision on which category the villages fall into.
NHS litigators visited the village last month and have now agreed it is classed as a rural area, dismissing the legal challenge by Budgens.
All the applications to open a pharmacy will now be considered by the PCT and a decision is expected in around five weeks about where it will be based.
A spokesman for North Somerset PCT said: "Now this has been concluded NHS North Somerset has re-started the process of considering all the pharmacy applications that have been received for that area, including the relocation of the Wrington Vale dispensary."