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Pharmacy Proposals

Sedlescombe Parish Council considered the Pharmacy White Paper at its Council Meeting on 11/11/08. The following response was agreed and sent to the Department of Health on 13/11/08:


Dear Ms Farnfield


I am instructed by Sedlescombe Parish Council to write to you to express villagers’ concerns that proposals in the Pharmacy White Paper to transfer some services to pharmacists will jeopardise the current relationship that they have with the Village GPs.  The services provided by pharmacists will probably have to be outside the Village.  Currently, the closest pharmacy is three miles away.


The Council has been informed that, if the legislation is approved, the Practice of Dr S Stern and Partners of Sedlescombe and Westfield, will need to consider closing one of its two surgeries, either in Sedlescombe or in the neighbouring Village of Westfield.  If the Sedlescombe surgery was to close, an unacceptable burden for local residents would be created, as many of them are elderly.  Our District is Rother and it is ranked the second highest of all 354 district and unitary authorities in the country for the percentage of people aged 75+, aged 85+ and aged 90+.  In this parish itself, we have 12.9% of our population aged between 65-74, 7.6% aged 75-84 and 3.1% aged 85+ [East Sussex in Figures Population and households profile for Sedlescombe(parish) – Rother, 2008].  For many of these people, and others who are disabled in some way of any age, getting to the next Village is physically impossible unless by taxi.  There is no bus service at all between Sedlescombe and Westfield.


The Sedlescombe Parish Council is also concerned about the probable loss of employment for doctors, nurses, dispensers and other staff if the proposals are adopted.  This is an area where getting local employment is not easy.  According to East Sussex in Figures, in 2001, this parish had an unemployment rate of 3%, much higher than the Rother District (2.3%), East Sussex (2.6%), or the South East (2.3%).  Most of the staff at the surgery are local people, living in or near the parish, and any loss of jobs would be expected to cause a rise in unemployment.  It is expected that, in the current economic situation, the figures for unemployment in rural areas will be worse.


If neither pharmacists, doctors or patients want these changes, and are quite satisfied with the current excellent service provided locally, who will benefit from the changes?  Any change, inevitably brings problems and, therefore, my Council appeals to you not to introduce any irresponsible changes that will put the current satisfactory situation at risk.


Yours sincerely


P J Raymond

Sedlescombe Parish Council