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Chemist's shop will offer more services.

NORTHUMBERLAND Care Trust said the application for a pharmacy in Widdrington had been granted on the grounds that it provided a broader range of services for local people.

Strategic head of commissioning Julie Ross said that in addition to dispensing prescription medication, the pharmacy, which would open on Saturday mornings as well as weekdays, would sell over-the-counter medicines and provide a wide range of services.

She said: "Currently people living in Widdrington have access to a dispensing service at the GP practice for prescription medicines only. The panel considering the application concluded that the community pharmacy would provide local people with access to a range of services not currently available to them.

These would include immediate access to a healthcare professional for advice about how to treat minor illnesses without having to make an appointment to see a GP or practice nurse.

"Other services would include home deliveries for people unable to go to the pharmacy to collect medication, repeat dispensing without the need for patients to order a prescription from the GP surgery, the sale of a wide range of over the-counter medicines and services to help people stay healthy, such as stopsmoking advice.

"We were aware of opposition to this application, but we must act in accordance with regulations and ensure that the best interests of patients are met. Given the benefits that will be delivered by the opening of a community pharmacy in the village, there was no reason not to grant this application." She said: "The practice receives two separate funding streams - one to provide GP services and the other to provide dispensing services.

"The first is through the personal medical services agreement that the practice has with Northumberland Care Trust.

"The level of funding that the practice receives under this contract is sufficient to pay for the GP posts required for a practice of this size.

"The second funding stream is to pay for staff to provide a dispensing service ... It is not to fund medical or nursing posts outside the dispensing provision.

"We would like to reassure patients that all existing GP services at the Widdrington practice should continue without change as they are funded separately through the PMS agreement."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2008
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