PITMEDDEN residents are being urged by Udny Community Council to turn out in force for a special meeting concerning dispensing at the Pitmedden surgery.
The meeting, scheduled for 7.30pm at Pitmedden Village Hall on November 14, aims to attract a groundswell of support for the retention of dispensing facilities at the surgery, which has been in jeopardy since the opening of a new pharmacy in Tarves.
Haddo Medical Group have already closed the doctor’s surgery in Tarves following the opening of the new pharmacy, on the basis that the loss of pharmacy revenues would have a serious impact on the group’s ability to operate the practice.
A significant campaign has grown up around the Tarves surgery’s closure, which has raised the possibility of Tarves residents having to travel to Pitmedden for a doctor’s appointment, and Pitmedden residents having to travel to Tarves to pick up their prescriptions.
Local politicians, including the First Minister and local councillors, have intervened in the debate, suggesting that NHS Grampian should rethink its policy regarding rural dispensaries.
Spokesman for Udny Community Council Brian McDougall said: “What we’re seeking to do is to make sure that people in Pitmedden appreciate what the loss of dispensing services at the surgery will mean.
“If the ability to collect prescriptions at the surgery is removed, people will have to travel to Tarves for their prescriptions, which simply doesn’t make sense. The proposals would leave this as the only place in Scotland where there was a surgery without a dispensary.
“As part of the case for Pitmedden surgery retaining dispensing rights, we need people to write to NHS Grampian demonstrating that there is a need for this facility. We hope that this meeting will demonstrate the strength of local feeling on the issue.”
He added that the proposed withdrawal of dispensing services would have a disproportionate impact on groups without cars or the ability to drive.
“A lot of people who can’t drive, or are reliant on lifts, simply won’t get to see a doctor, or pick up their prescription without great difficulty. For a lot of older people in Pitmedden, the ability to walk down to the doctor and collect their prescription is a matter of pride and practicality.”
“Ironically, NHS Grampian have a stated policy of bringing healthcare ‘into the community’, but with this particular policy they’re doing the exact opposite.”
Haddo Medical Group have previously indicated that they would consider re-opening the Tarves surgery if dispensing services at the Pitmedden surgery were retained.