Friday, 4 July 2008

Health Centre dispensary under threat

Pharmacies. Not a subject that I've blogged about yet. The reason I'm doing so now is because of what is in a government white paper. Now the reasoning goes that our highly trained pharmacists could relieve some of the pressure on GP practices by dealing for instance with minor ailments. I can see the reasoning here, no doubt doctors do get tied up with patients lesser problems that do not need all their expertise and pharmacies could be regarded as an underused resource. But it is another suggestion that is giving rise to concern.

Many Health Centres now dispense prescriptions, a good idea in my view because you can pick up your prescription straight after seeing the doc, in fact the Health Centre is a one stop shop effectively saving time and reducing inconvenience for the patient. The practice can recycle the money it makes from dispensing into improving its services. So why would anyone try and alter that set up. Well this government would if the nearest pharmacy was less than a mile from the Health Centre!

In my neck of the woods I live in the catchment of the Callington and Gunnislake Group Practice. Anyone living in Gunnislake will be able to continue to take advantage of the 'in-house' dispensary at the village Health Centre rather than going to Callington or Tavistock for our medicine. We don't have a pharmacy in the village. However the threat to the folk in Callington is that having had their consultation they will be forced to use the town's chemist, less than a mile away, because under these ridiculous proposals the Health Centre's dispensary would be forced to close with the consequent loss of employment and income stream. At Callington Health Centre there is parking, a great boon to any patients with mobility problems for instance. The system works fine at the moment, why for heaven sake change it. The old saying "if it aint broke don't fix it" seems particularly appropriate here.

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