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Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to safeguard access to pharmacy services for people living in rural areas. [104809]

Under the National Health Service Act 1977, it is the responsibility of national health service primary care trusts (PCTs) to arrange the provision of pharmaceutical services in their area. This includes determining whether it is necessary or desirable to secure adequate provision of services by granting new applications. The Health and Social Care Act 2001 also empowers PCTs to devise contracts for local pharmaceutical services which address particular local needs.The Essential Small Pharmacy Scheme provides additional financial support to pharmacies which might otherwise be unviable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many pharmacies (a) opened and (b) closed in (i) the UK, (ii) Suffolk and (iii) the Bury St. Edmunds constituency in each of the last five years. [104811]

The table shows information on the number of pharmacies opening and closing in England and Wales and in the former Suffolk Health Authority in the five years to 31 March 2002. Such information for Bury St. Edmunds is not held centrally, but there has been no change in the number of pharmacies in Bury St. Edmunds over this period. Information for Scotland and Northern Ireland should be requested from the relevant administrations.

Number of NHS pharmacies
Year ending1OpeningClosing
England and Wales
Suffolk health authority
1 31 March

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the contribution his Department made to the Office of Fair Trading's recent report on entry controls for pharmacies. [105445]

[holding answer 31 March 2003]: Officials from the Department of Health met staff from the Office of Fair Trading during the course of their enquiry into entry controls for pharmacies and provided factual material. The Department did not provide a contribution to the text of the report. Decisions about content are the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading.