Petition to block pharmacy challenge to GP dispensers

All new community pharmacies should be blocked pending the outcome of a Scottish Parliamentary enquiry, BMA Scotland has said.

The Parliament's petitions committee is investigating the impact commercial pharmacies have on Scotland's dispensing practices.

The move follows the receipt of a petition, lodged by Fife patient Alan Kennedy and signed by more than 2,000 people, which calls on the government to ensure that new commercial pharmacies do not force practices to cut services. Mr Kennedy has written about his petition in GP (GP, 27 March).

Now the BMA has called for the 'unfair' application process to be halted until the enquiry has concluded.

'Where a pharmacy application is accepted [a nearby dispensing practice] will lose its right to dispense with immediate effect,' said GPC Scotland chairman Dr Dean Marshall.

The 'considerable' financial impact of such a move should be mitigated by allowing a longer adjustment period, he added.

The petitions committee is awaiting answers from the Scottish government on whether NHS boards should be required to consult with practices and patients before agreeing to new pharmacies.

It is also considering whether dispensing practices should be permitted to directly petition pharmaceutical companies when an application to open a pharmacy is made.

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