HC Deb 18 October 1968 vol 770 cc802-4

Lords Amendment No. 90: In page 54, line 35, at end insert: (aa) the amount of space to be provided in any premises for persons preparing or dispensing medicinal products, the separation of any such space from the remainder of the premises, and the facilities to be provided in any premises for such persons; (ab) the amount of space to be provided in any premises for the sale or supply of medicinal products; (ac) the accommodation (including the amount of space) to be provided in any premises for members of the public to whom medicinal products are sold or supplied or for whom medicinal products are being prepared or assembled; (ad) the amount of space to be provided in any premises for the storage of medicinal products.

1.15 p.m.

Mr. K. Robinson

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

During the Report stage, an Amendment was moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English), and was accepted, which made it clear that requirements as to construction, layout, equipment and the other matters mentioned in Clause 59(2) can be included in regulations only in so far as they can be related to one or more of the purposes in Clause 59(1).

It became evident in another place that the purposes listed in Clause 59(1) might not cover all the points which it would be important to cover in regulations relating to the suitability of premises used for the preparation, sale, storage, and so on, of medicinal products. The purpose of the Amendment is to include specific references to these matters.

Clause 68 provides for the registration of new pharmacy premises to be withheld if they do not in a material respect satisfy the requirements of regulations as to suitability made under Clause 59, this investigation being made by the health department concerned. The Bill must enable regulations to be made providing an adequate basis for this.

The additional points mentioned in paragraph (aa) in the Amendment are related specifically to preparation and dispensing and would therefore have no application to ordinary shops. Those in paragraphs (ab), (ac) and (ad) with regard to selling space, space for customers and storage are of general application, but different provisions would need to be made as appropriate to different kinds of premises, and there must, as the House knows, be consultation with the interests appearing to the Minister to be likely to be affected before any regulation can be made.

Mr. Tim Fortescue (Liverpool, Garston)

I hate to disturb the general euphoria, although I, too, am very sorry that the Minister is leaving the Ministry of Health. Others who have lived through the Bill with him will feel the same.

In Committee, my hon. Friends and I protested loud and long about the apparent restrictions which were to be placed on the ordinary village shop and the difficulties which the ordinary village shopkeeper might find himself in simply by wishing to sell aspirin tablets. We thought that we made our point fairly adequately. We are therefore disappointed that this Amendment appears to impose even more restrictions on the private village shop. I was pleased to hear from the Minister that different regulations would need to be made in different cases.

We urge him, or his successor, when making such regulations to let off the village shopkeeper lightly, because such shops serve a real purpose in supplying simple household remedies to a large number of people who live nowhere near a chemist's shop.

Mr. Dean

I emphasise what my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Fortescue) has said.

I should be grateful if the Minister would clarify one point. He said paragraph (aa) does not apply to the ordinary shop. I am not clear whether the same argument goes for the other paragraphs.

Mr. K. Robinson

With leave, may I say that paragraph (aa) is related specifically to preparation and dispensing. Therefore, it does not apply to ordinary shops. Paragraphs (ab), (ac), and (ad) deal with selling space, space for customers and storage, and they are of general application. But different provisions would need to be made for different premises.

We are completely sincere in our assurance about consulting all interests likely to be concerned before any regulations are drafted.

Question put and agreed to.

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