LETTER: Future of our pharmacies

Your letters
Your letters

Do your readers ever get the feeling that all politicians - of whatever Party - have finally lost the plot?

Take, for example, the juvenile exchanges at Prime Minister’s Question Time or the standard of debate in the House of Commons in general. Many of the parliamentary contributions would not justify a Level 1 pass at Horsham Speakers Club!

Against this background, the latest confused statement made by government concerns the future of your local pharmacy. First, we are told that the pharmacist will play an increasingly important role - complementing medicos and nurses at a time of dire shortage within the NHS. The next item of news is that local pharmacies are under threat of closure with pharmaceutical services being reorganised into larger, more efficient, units - including supermarkets.

The latest initiative in this area has been taken by a Leeds-based private company offering an online prescription service. Their information pack appears to have been delivered by Royal Mail to many - if not all houses in Horsham. I received two copies in one week!

A sample of the headlines reads, ‘No hassle, no fuss - how you can get NHS repeat prescriptions without leaving home’ or ‘Repeat prescriptions without repeated trips to the surgery are as easy as 1 2 3’ or ‘No wonder 99 per cent of customers prefer our service’.

Note that they don’t say how many customers they have using their service. Also your prescription is delivered to your door - or to a designated neighbour via Royal Mail. But what happens if you rely upon life-saving medication and Royal Mail chooses to go on strike - as they are prone to do from time to time?

The application form from our friends in the North have done their homework as each of Horsham’s five surgeries - Park Surgery, Courtyard Surgery, Orchard Surgery, Riverside Surgery and Holbrook Surgery. All are listed.

It is up to each recipient to make their own judgement. In our competitive market-driven age when long-term loyalty counts for nothing - be it one’s Bank or NHS surgery - one can imagine that some will take up an offer of online prescriptions at face value - perhaps unaware that this services is currently offered by most - if not all surgeries in Horsham. Also the impact of such a private online service could be the last straw for your local pharmacy - which relies heavily upon NHS prescriptions to stay in business.

As for myself, all the bumf I have received on the subject from Leeds during the course of the last week has gone - where it belongs - straight into the bin. If you value the service provided by your local pharmacy, might I respectfully suggest that you do likewise.

Robert B. Worley

Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham


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