NHS West Sussex reassures patients

A pharmacy in Broadfield will lose its minor ailments service after the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCCG) decided to scrap it in the New Year.

The CCCG, which will take over from NHS West Sussex in April next year, wants to stop the service which is currently available at Kamsons Pharmacy on Broadfield Barton and 11 other pharmacies in town. The scheme launched in 2005 meant residents exempt from prescription charges could receive items direct from the pharmacy.

Cllr Brian Quinn (Lab, Broadfield) called on the commissioning group to reconsider its decision.

He said: “This is a valuable service that is much appreciated by my constituents. The ease of access to treatment for patients entitled to free prescriptions is far more conveniently provided locally within Broadfield rather than having to travel to the urgent treatment centre at Crawley Hospital. I assume the provision of the service by the pharmacy is also more cost-effective. I can understand it is tasked with making savings. However, I believe that a case can be made for retaining it, especially in Broadfield which is a distinct area with its own health needs. The GP surgery has moved from the Barton up to Coachmans Drive. It is further up the road and it is difficult for the elderly to get up there. That is one of the complaints that I do get a lot from people and so having the pharmacy offering the minor ailments service has been lovely for them.”

Commenting on the Observer’s Facebook page, many people said they wanted the service to stay.

Sally-Anne Lavender said: “We are one of the many parts of Crawley that are lucky enough to have nearly every shop/service available to us on our doorstep , why disrupt it?”

James Murray Reeve said: “Another kick in the teeth to the elderly people in this country if this goes through.”

NHS West Sussex said a review found the service did not reduce GP appointments and it was only being used in 12 of the 21 pharmacies in Crawley. It said in eight of these pharmacies it was used less than 10 times since the start of the year. NHS West Sussex said the CCCG took the decision to scrap the service as a sub-committee of the trust. A spokeswoman for NHS West Sussex said: “People will still be able to see their GP and their pharmacist in the normal way to receive effective advice and support on a range of illnesses and conditions. And if they need a prescription their GP will be able to continue to provide this service.”