HC Deb 13 March 2003 vol 401 c519

6.3 pm

Bob Spink (Castle Point)

Local chemists shops are not only retail outlets, but part of the very fabric of our communities. They are in the front line of primary health care, and they do much to take away from the burden on GPs, and can do much more in future. However, the recommendations of the Office of Fair Trading would result in the closure of many community pharmacies and hurt the most vulnerable people in our society. The residents of Thundersley value and seek to protect their local pharmacies and have raised a petition.

The petition states: To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of Councillor Pam Challis, Beverley Egan and others of like disposition Sheweth That local communities are best served by pharmacies based in those communities and the OFT's recommendation to abolish the `control of entry' regulations would seriously damage local pharmacies. Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House shall urge the Government to reject proposals that would allow unrestricted opening of pharmacies able to dispense NHS prescriptions and preserve local pharmacies and safeguard their continued services to local communities. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

To lie upon the Table.