Na h-Eileanan SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to Gordon Jamieson, Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles and to Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health raising concerns regarding proposals to open a dispensing pharmacy in Benbecula.

There is concern locally that the opening of a dispensing pharmacy in Benbecula will have a detrimental effect on patient care.

Mr MacNeil said:

“I have spoken to people in the community who are very concerned that if this application is successful, patients would have to make a 20-60 mile trip for medication.  This would place an additional burden on the elderly and ill and indeed on all families, particularly with the high cost of fuel.

“I have written to Gordon Jamieson, Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles, to ask that the wider implications on the hospital in Benbecula and GP services be looked at first, prior to approving this application and that the GP dispensary service is protected.

“I have also written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil MSP, to ask that he considers changes in the law to give rural GP practices the type of protection they have in England.  I understand from talking to Alex Neil that he is sympathetic to this.  We must ensure that Pharmaceutical Services Regulations are there to serve the public and health needs first and particularly dispensing medical practices in rural areas, when uncoordinated business pharmacies propose to open in these areas.”