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MSPs press for new regulations on pharmacies

4th December 2013

Having been informed by NHS Highland that the Health Board is not in a position to suspend a community pharmacy application until present legislation is revoked and replaced with other instruction, Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, have contacted the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil, asking when the new legislation relating to the granting of these applications will be introduced.

Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have been in dialogue with the Cabinet Secretary for Health about the legislation surrounding community pharmacy applications over recent months. The Labour MSPs called on the Cabinet Secretary to sanction a moratorium on the granting of these applications in September after concerns were raised with them in other areas. The Cabinet Secretary stated that he does not have the legal powers to impose a moratorium, but if he had the powers he would have used them. He did however instruct an immediate review into the legislation on the granting of community pharmacy applications and has recently advised that the review has identified a range of issues, which will lead to amended regulations.

Rhoda Grant said The communities of Castletown and Canisbay are in limbo as they wait to see if the applicant will go ahead and submit an application to NHS Highland. As things stand, the Minister cannot sanction a freeze on these applications and neither can the Health Board. This is an untenable situation and we are pressing the Minister to bring about a resolution as soon as possible to remove this uncertainty from rural communities who are rightly concerned about the impact on existing services.

Commenting on the situation David Stewart said We need the Cabinet Secretary to ensure that changes to legislation are brought forward as soon as possible to end the uncertainty for communities affected, or potentially affected, by these applications. This is clearly a concerning time for the people of Castletown and Canisbay and I want to see appropriate legislation introduced as soon as possible to protect communities from being placed in this unacceptable situation.

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