Lunchtime agreement a boost for patients
PRESCRIPTIONS and packed lunches can now go hand in hand thanks to a new agreement between Felixstowe pharmacies to stagger their lunch breaks.Until now patients were unable to pick up their prescriptions during a lunch hour because all three pharmacists in the town centre closed at the same time for lunch.
PRESCRIPTIONS and packed lunches can now go hand in hand thanks to a new agreement between Felixstowe pharmacies to stagger their lunch breaks.
Until now patients were unable to pick up their prescriptions during a lunch hour because all three pharmacists in the town centre closed at the same time for lunch.
The news comes as something of a victory to mayor, Malcolm Minns who has been campaigning about the issue for several years.
He said: "It was a repetitive issue that just kept coming up over the years.
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"Lunch times are so important to many people and it may be the only time that they can actually get to the pharmacists."
Mr Minns said he had been shocked to learn that even if the prescription had already been dispensed and was ready to give out, the patient could not take it if the pharmacist was not there.
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He said: "Many people have to go back to work by 2pm and could not get their prescriptions.
"The problem seemed so unnecessary."
An agreement was reached between Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the dispensing pharmacists to ensure that patients will always find one of the pharmacies open to dispense prescriptions throughout the day from 8.45am to 6.30pm.
Ana Selby, chief executive of Suffolk Coastal PCT said: "The lack of pharmacy facilities over the lunch period has for many years been a source of concern to some of our patients.
"We are absolutely delighted that Felixstowe's local pharmacists have taken this on board and reached an agreement which will ensure uninterrupted access to pharmacies throughout the day.
"This change in Pharmacy opening hours shows our commitment to making sure Coastal residents receive the best healthcare services possible."
John McDonald, chairman of the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and superintendent pharmacist for the Co-op explains "By staggering their lunch breaks on a rota system similar to that operated to cover evening opening, patients will find at least one pharmacy open at all times throughout the day.
"If they visit a pharmacist that is closed for lunch, they will be directed to the one that is open at that time."