Middleton Cheney’s new pharmacy manager is urging village residents who are feeling unwell to ‘come to their pharmacy first’ after plans to save its doctors’ surgery suffered a blow this week.
Middleton Cheney Surgery, which is run by Banbury’s Horsefair Surgery, closed its doors at the beginning of October and the building was put up for sale.
Since then, villagers have been campaigning for the surgery to reopen by signing petitions and holding a peaceful gathering in the village while Middleton Cheney Parish Council applied to South Northants Council for the building to become a community asset.
But the parish council heard last week its application has been rejected.
Sue Snelling, the new pharmacy manager at Middleton Cheney Co-op and chair of Northants and Milton Keynes Local Pharmacy Committee, is encouraging village residents who are feeling unwell to contact the pharmacy for advice, which might save them from having to travel to Banbury for a doctor’s appointment.
She said: “People can use us as a first port of call rather than trekking to Banbury. This is what we should be doing as pharmacists – advising patients and saving them the hassle.
“I saved three GP appointments over the phone on Monday already. We can find ways to help patients self-treat, certainly rural residents, who then won’t have to think about paying parking charges to go into Banbury.”
She added recently announced government cuts to the community pharmacy budget of four per cent had come as a shock to everyone, but Middleton Cheney’s pharmacy was protected from cuts until April 2018 due to its membership of the pharmacy access scheme (PhAS).
The scheme is designed to protect access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies with higher health needs.
Mrs Snelling added: “We need to encourage people to use us so this can continue. We also need people to lobby their MPs or councillors to get the government to see value in their community pharmacies.”
People can contact the pharmacy about anything from coughs and colds to constipation. The pharmacy can advise on self-treatment or if the problem requires treatment from a doctor.