Medical group seeks permission for in-house pharmacy

An Aberdeenshire medical group has applied to operate an in-house pharmacy – weeks after its future was plunged into doubt. Haddo Medical Group’s application for a licence at Pitmedden has the support of the community councils of Udny, Methlick and Tarves.

They opposed an application for a rival commercial pharmacy at Tarves last year, which went ahead after an appeal. NHS Grampian rejected the proposal by Semple and Semple, but the ruling was overturned by a national appeals panel.

The company then made a request to have the Haddo group’s dispensing rights – which it also provided at its surgeries at Methlick and Pitmedden – removed. That could cost it hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

A joint statement issued by the community councils said: “We carried out a properly-conducted, extensive consultation with local people about what they wanted. This was ignored by the national appeal body, despite NHS Grampian agreeing there was no need for a separate commercial pharmacy in Tarves.

“We sought a meeting with the Haddo Medical Group and, after detailed discussions, we will strongly back a move by it for the practice to have its own pharmacist at its Pitmedden/Udny surgery. This was the course of action which reflected the very overwhelming wishes of local folk in the extensive survey.”

Local councillor Paul Johnston welcomed the news, saying: “This is not about an argument between a pharmacy and doctors over who gets money for dispensing. This is about a community having a say about the provision of medical services in their area.”

A spokesman for Haddo Medical Group said if its application was approved there would likely be little change to the service that patients in Pitmedden and the surrounding area receive. He added: “A pharmacy situated in the medical premises would provide a pharmaceutical service to any practice patient who no longer had access to the dispensing service that was previously available to them.

“Haddo Medical Group wish to continue to deliver a high standard of medical services, including the dispensing of medicines, to all the patients that need them outside the areas covered by any Tarves pharmacy.

“The Pitmedden surgery application, on balance, is the best option for our patients and we welcome the support of the local community in our aim of delivering the excellent services they deserve.”