A RURAL GP surgery will be allowed to continue making money from dispensing medicines in Waverton.
Dr Andrew Campbell’s Tarporley practice has a satellite surgery in Waverton and relies on the income from dispensing medicines to support its services.
Dr Campbell was concerned about the possibility of Waverton being classified as an urban area which would have prevented him from dispensing to more than 1,000 patients there.
But the Pharmaceutical Development Group met on October 14 and decided while Christleton was “ribbon development” of Chester and therefore urban, Waverton was deemed rural in accordance with the 2005 Pharmaceutical Regulations.
Dr Campbell is understood to be relieved the status quo was retained.
However, Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust is still considering an application to open a chemist in Christleton, which could provide extra competition to his service if it is approved.
The fact Christleton was deemed “urban” means the application can progress to the next stage, although this decision can be appealed by certain consulted parties to the NHS Family Health Services Litigation Authority in Harrogate. If there is an appeal, it could take months to complete.
Once this process is over, the Pharmaceutical Development Group would consult local parties to ask if they think the pharmacy proposed for Christleton is necessary or desirable. This decision can also be appealed.
The Primary Care Trust understands the extra competition from the proposed pharmacy is adding to GPs’ worries about the Government’s White Paper on the future of community pharmacy published earlier this year.
This includes proposals to change the rules relating to the dispensing of medicines by family doctors in rural areas.
A PCT spokesperson said: “One or two GPs contacted us to discuss their concerns and we have assured them the proposed changes will not reduce patients’ access to medication nor services provided by their practice.”
Some GPs subsidise essential services – such as employing an extra doctor or nurse – through the income generated by dispensing medicines.
The spokesperson added: “If a practice can demonstrate it is generating income through dispensing medicines that is being ploughed directly back into essential services, we will explore ways of making sure those essential services are funded in future – if that becomes necessary.”