Pharmacy concerns spark public meeting

A health campaigner, concerned that a new pharmacy will spell ‘disaster’ for Chapel St Leonards patients, has organised a public meeting to discuss the issue with doctors financing the facility.

Charles Christopher fears the new 100-hour pharmacy opened in Ingoldmells by partners at the Beacon Medical Practice will force Chapel’s current pharmacy out of business, leaving patients with an inferior service. He said: “We are not against the facility opening - for Ingoldmells that’s very good news, but it’s an absolute disaster for Chapel.”

Mr Christopher has invited doctors from the pharmacy to attend a meeting at Chapel St Leonards Village Hall on November 22, from 7pm to 9pm.

Althoughhe admits patients in Ingoldmells may benefit from the new facility, he is concerned that Chapel residents would be downgrading their service.

Whereas Beacon’s Ingoldmells branch pharmacy is staffed by a fully trained pharmacist, the Chapel branch only operates a collection point service, which lacks the expertise of a qualified professional.

Chapel’s existing pharmacy is run by Julian Sit, a fully qualified pharmacist who is well respected in the village, however, Mr Christopher is concerned many patients feel compelled to choose a pharmacy backed by their GP, which he fears will put Mr Sit out of business and reduce patients’ options.

Similar concerns were raised in last week’s Standard, when doctors were accused of unethically directing patients to use their own pharmacy for financial gain.

The practice has strenuously denied this accusation and insisted its decision to open the pharmacy was to fulfil a genuine need in the community, lacking from the ‘grossly inadequate’ service previously offered. Mr Christopher has taken issue with the suggestion that Mr Sit’s service was inadequate, as he regularly makes deliveries to patients out of hours

Practice manager Anne Bath has confirmed that a GP and the pharmacy manager would attend the meeting.