THE NHS is refusing to step in help save a vital pharmacy on the University of Warwick campus.
The future of the M W Phillips Pharmacy was thrown in to doubt when the Government scrapped its Essential Small Pharmacy Local Pharmaceutical Services (ESPLPS) scheme.
The pharmacy is key to many staff and students at the university – in particular those with a disability.
But it can’t survive without financial support, so after the government funding axe bosses applied to the local NHS Area Team for future financial help from the Local Pharmaceutical Services.
However, the NHS Area Team refused the pharmacy’s application – a decision it says cannot be reconsidered, despite the cries of devastated users who will be forced to travel almost two miles to the nearest pharmacy.
The decision means the pharmacy will close when the university closes for the summer.
When asked about the decision to reject the pharmacy’s LPS application, a spokesperson from NHS England (West Midlands) said they were ‘unable to comment on individual business cases’.
They added: “NHS England (West Midlands) have worked with the university to ensure the pharmacy is able to return to the General Pharmaceutical List if they wish to.
“This is now a business decision for the owner of the pharmacy to decide how they proceed.”
But, the pharmacy’s owner has said he would be forced to close his doors if he returned to the General Pharmaceutical List without the LPS financial subsidy.
Now a local city Councillor and students have contacted The Observer to personally condemn the ruling.
Coun Tim Sawdon for the Wainbody Ward has voiced is support for the petitioners and questions how ‘forward-thinking’ the Local NHS Area Team’s decision has been.
He argues: “The University is constantly expanding in numbers which indicates that the demand for the pharmacy will be even greater in the future – which may in fact make it more viable.
“It is plainly ridiculous to expect students living on an isolated, out of town campus – most of whom rely on cars or public transport which is not always on time – to be denied this essential service.
“The pharmacy’s closure would be inconvenient for students and put disabled students at a particular disadvantage.”
The NHS argue that students could have prescriptions delivered to them, and that pharmacies in the surrounding area are in ‘the same locality as other local amenities that students regularly travel to’, and that, as businesses, these pharmacies would be ‘keen to attract new customers’.
But, petitioners have voiced their concerns that the closest pharmacy at Cannon Park, would force students to cross the same dangerous stretch of road with no crossing which killed a student last year.
Isaac Leigh, Societies Officer at the Student’s Union, visits the on-campus pharmacy weekly to buy products for an ongoing eye condition and says the pharmacy’s closure would severely curtail accessibility for disabled students.
He added: “There should be a pharmacy on every university campus, and this sends out a really disparaging message about attitudes to the health service.
“There are few, if any, things more important than health provision.
He went on to claim the NHS’s decision was made on inaccurate information – assuming that just 2,000 students live on campus when the figure is actually closer to 6,000.
In a final plea to the NHS, Issac said: “Please reconsider your decision.
“The petition signed by students show not only how much they care about this issue, but how it threatens the basic mechanisms of health and safety.
“The Students’ Union and University are united in their condemnation of the funding cuts to the pharmacy– please do your duty by listening properly to the people who will be affected by this decision.”