In April, the Government produced a White Paper entitled “Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths”. In response to that White Paper, the Dispensing Doctors’ Association carried out a survey of 6,000 of its patients. It had two key findings. The first was that 95 per cent. of the surveyed patients would find it difficult or inconvenient if their surgeries stopped dispensing. The second was that half of the surveyed households include at least one person over 65. It was unsurprising, therefore, that hundreds of my constituents wrote to me to oppose the proposals.
In a very welcome announcement yesterday, the Minister of State, Department of Health, the hon. Member for Corby (Phil Hope), did a complete U-turn on the proposals and announced that there would be no change. My constituents, along with the millions of people up and down the country who were upset by the proposals, have had an early Christmas present. My constituents have therefore had a prescient victory in their campaign, but nevertheless I shall present their petition.
The petition states:
The Petition of residents of Cotswold and others,
Declares that the Government has made proposals to change the way pharmacy services are provided in the community; further declares that if the proposals were implemented, the dispensaries at the Moore Health Centre in Bourton-on-the Water and Westwoods Surgery in Northleach would be forced to close; notes that the undersigned value the service currently provided.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Health to retain the dispensaries at the Moore Health Centre in Bourton-on-the-Water and Westwoods Surgery in Northleach.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.