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Felixstowe: Pharmacy refusal is blow to health centre project

PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 February 2013

An artist's impression of the new Grove Medical Centre at Felixstowe - hopes of a pharmacy in the building are in doubt after an application was refused.

An artist's impression of the new Grove Medical Centre at Felixstowe - hopes of a pharmacy in the building are in doubt after an application was refused.

Archant

DOCTORS’ proposals for a new £1million medical centre on the edge of Felixstowe have been dealt a blow with the refusal of a pharmacy on the site.

NHS Suffolk had given the pharmacy approval but its decision was the subject of an appeal by Boots and Morrisons, which both have chemists in the town.

Now the NHS Litigation Authority has allowed the appeals – and decided the pharmacy is not necessary and the neighbourhood already has adequate provision of such services.

It is not known if a new application would succeed or simply prompt a fresh appeal.

When councillors approved the medical centre last year, they were told the pharmacy was a vital element of the project and would open for 100 hours a week initially, though opening times would reduce once usage pattern was established.

NHS Suffolk today confirmed that its board’s decision to provide finance – money from the sale of the Bartlet Hospital – for the new medical centre still stood.

Preliminary work has also started on site in Grove Road, next to The Grove and Abbey Grove woodlands.

Rushport Advisory LLP applied for the pharmacy at the medical centre, which will replace the 16,000-patient Central Surgery, Hamilton Road, which has been described as Suffolk’s “poorest quality surgery premises” – cramped, cold, decaying and leaking.

NHS Suffolk agreed the application after being told all the other surgeries in Felixstowe had chemists either attached or close by, and the Old Felixstowe area had no pharmacy.

However, Boots and Morrison then lodged appeals.

Boots said there were four pharmacies within 1.5km of the new medical centre – a fifth has since opened – and one of those just 600m away. It said NHS Suffolk had considered the town’s south-east ward as the catchment when the centre is in the east ward, where 86% of households own cars and 33% of them two cars and most people visit Hamilton Road regularly for shopping.

Morrisons said the addition of yet another chemist could have a severe impact on others in the area and lead to closures. Services should be sited where people go about their daily lives rather than on the edge of town.

No-one was available for comment at Central Surgery.

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