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Health Centres

Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 12 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a list of health centres in Scotland at which pharmaceutical services are presently available; whether his Department has undertaken any investigation to determine if such services could offer savings to the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.

Pharmaceutical services are at present provided in the health centres at Sighthill, Edinburgh and Woodside, Glasgow. Health centres under construction at Kirkcaldy and Peterhead include pharmacies.

The present policy is to offer local chemists the opportunity to form a consortium to operate a pharmacy in any proposed health centre. Such arrangements do not alter the total cost of pharmaceutical services in the area served.

Is my hon. Friend aware that I give him two cheers for that reply? Does he not realise that the provision of a facility such as this would do two things? First, it would provide a considerable amount of finance for the running of the health centre. Second, it would provide a facility to patients using the health centre, without which the whole concept of the health centre, with its medical, dental, radiological and other ancillary services, is not complete?

I accept what my hon. Friend says. I shall certainly consider any evidence he is prepared to submit to me.

Will my hon. Friend clarify one point? Will the pharmacists who will work in the health centres be directly employed, on a salary basis, by the health board or will they merely be agents of some private enterprise which will use the health centre as a branch of its own business?

The current position is that ordinary commercial pharmacists take up accommodation in the same way as doctors and dentists.