On 1 May, as we celebrate the sixth year since the magnificent Labour victory in 1997, I present a petition signed by about 2,100 of my constituents. It says that the Office of Fair Trading's proposals for the unrestricted opening of pharmacies that are able to dispense national health service prescriptions will have a serious and detrimental effect on pharmacies and the communities that they serve.Local community pharmacies play an important role in our communities, and their clinical involvement is recognised in the Government's NHS plan. They play a much wider role in our local communities than most people think, even to the extent that my local pharmacy will take prescriptions to the houses of people who are disabled, infirm or elderly. That provides a further contact for those people, who are sometimes dislocated in their communities. The petition states:
The Petition of the constituents of Eccles to 'Save our Pharmacy Services', signed by 2,100 people,
Declares that we, the undersigned, urge the Government to reject proposals that would allow unrestricted opening of pharmacies able to dispense NHS prescriptions, and to preserve local pharmacies and safeguard their continued services to local communities,
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
To lie upon the Table.