Have your say on surgery plans

People are being urged to have their say on plans that could see the closure of surgery dispensaries.A government review could end GP's powers to give out medicines to patients who live more than a mile away.

People are being urged to have their say on plans that could see the closure of surgery dispensaries.

A government review could end GP's powers to give out medicines to patients who live more than a mile away.

If the surgery dispensary at Ludham Medical Centre were to close, staff say it could

lead to redundancies among doctors and nurses to offset the loss of income.

A statement said: “The pharmacy prides itself on knowing and supporting many of their rural patients' needs and concerns and would like to continue to

do so.

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“However, all of the options currently being considered in the Government white paper would have tremendous repercussions for the patients of the Ludham surgery.

“The surgery dispensary may have to shut, meaning an extra journey to collect medication from the nearest pharmacy, an impossibility for those without their own transport or who are unable to get about easily. There would be nobody to discuss patient medication with and the surgery would not be

able to dispense urgent medicines.”

Norfolk has more dispensing surgeries than anywhere else in the country, with 29pc

able to get medicines from their GP compared with less than 7pc nationally. Norfolk's Local Medical Committee and Local Pharmaceutical Committee both support the situation staying as it is.

One of four options in the government proposals is that doctors' dispensaries would have to close if there was a nearby pharmacy, while a second option is that there would have to be two pharmacies nearby for the dispensary to close.

The definition of “nearby” has not been set so it is not known how many would be affected. The loss of income would mean that surgeries might have to cut back on some services and in some cases could even close.

The closing date to respond is November 20. People are being asked to contact their local MP and their own surgery.