Hundreds of Deddington residents banned from surgery dispensary

Delmergate Pharmacy, Deddington. NNL-180717-173512009
Delmergate Pharmacy, Deddington. NNL-180717-173512009

More than 2,000 residents of Deddington are to be denied the right to collect their prescriptions from the village surgery.

Instead they will have to go to a new pharmacy opened up across the village in Hudson Street.

Patients were not consulted about the plan to establish a pharmacy in the village.

Delmergate Ltd opened its doors last Monday after applying for a licence to establish a pharmacy in Deddington. Its application was initially refused but the company’s appeal was successful.

The forbidding of Deddington Health Centre dispensary to exchange prescriptions for medication for many is due to a regulation that says people living within a mile of a pharmacy may not be given medicines by a surgery in the same area.

In 2010, when an identical proposal was proposed for Bloxham, the then-MP for Banbury, MP Sir Tony Baldry, called it ‘crazy’ and demanded the rule be abolished.

The Earl’s Lane surgery has been given a three month transition period to allow it to use up its stocks. GPs have appealed to NHS England (NHSE)for more time.

Jane Broadbent, health centre dispensing manager told Deddington Online: “Despite taking legal advice and hiring legal counsel we were unable to prevent this.”

“Interested parties were consulted but patients were not. NHSE approved the plan and we appealed but we lost,” said health centre practice manager Melanie Watkins.

In their detailed challenge, GPs said the walk to Hudson Street would be ‘unnecessary and challenging’ for some patients. It is feared that as well as inconvenience to patients the move will reduce the health centre’s current income.

Deddington villagers on social media expressed concern about the pharmacy’s opening hours, 9am to 5.30pm, which they said would not allow them to collect prescriptions because of work.

Some said they were worried about parking in Hudson Street, a narrow street on the village bus route.

Pharmacy spokesman Andrew Woolnough said the initial opening hours were to cover the contracted minimum but as the needs of the community become clearer, these could be adjusted to accommodate working people.

Mr Woolnough said he looked forward to villagers visiting the pharmacy to see for themselves the benefits of its services which include free consultations with a pharmacist for ailments of all kinds and a range of over-the-counter medications.

He stressed that the one-mile rule is not the phamacy’s choice but was an existing condition long before the company planned the outlet.

Villagers are not obliged to use the new pharmacy to collect their medications but may take their prescriptions to any dispensing chemist.

Keith Strangwood, chairman of the Keep the Horton General campaign said: “This is another brick in the wall in the construction of a new NHS in which GP surgeries will be amalgamated, people told to go to pharmacists instead of GPs and that they can’t have a growing list of operations available before because of the cost.

“What happens if the new pharmacy closes? It may be the health centre’s dispensary will not have been able to survive if its income drops.

“I’m sure the people of Deddington would love a pharmacy – but not at the expense of the obvious convenience of being able to get their medication from their GP dispensary – and their surgery’s viability.”