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Castletown Pharmacy Application Rejected

9th April 2014

The NHS Highland Pharmacy Practices Committee has unanimously rejected plans to open a pharmacy in Castletown.

The applicant Sanjay Mahju made the application for his company Apple Pharmacy Group that already has a number of pharmacies in Scotland. The GP's maintained the dispensing part of their business helped maintain GP's in the practice.

Sanjay Mahju always maintained that the business was not a threat to the GPs.

A campaign against the pharmacy application saw public meetings packed with a huge one in the local hall seeing many people standing in corridors and outside.

The local chip shop in Mackay Street was to have been where the new pharmacy was to be located.

The committee was unanimous in rejecting the application saying the applicant had not proved it was 'desirable or necessary'.

NHS Highland had held public consultations which showed "a complete lack of support for a pharmacy in this area."

"While it was acknowledged that there are currently no pharmaceutical services within the area it was agreed that, as residents can access these services easily in Thurso, the applicant had not been successful in proving inadequacy of pharmaceutical services."

North, Scottish Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant has welcomed the decision by the NHS Highland Pharmacy Practice Committee which has refused the application to introduce a pharmacy into Castletown, Caithness.

Rhoda Grant MSP and Davis Stewart MSP had both campaigned against the establishment of a pharmacy in Castletown and Mrs Grant had visited Castletown Medical Practice last month to discuss the application with local GP Hercules Robinson.

Mrs Grant, Shadow Minister for Wellbeing this morning welcomed the decision saying:

“I am relieved that the Castletown Pharmacy application has been rejected and that the wishes of the local community have been listened to. This was the correct decision for the local area.

“The local community have campaigned vigorously against this application and have attracted support from far and wide. The Castletown Pharmacy application has exposed the flaws in the current legislation surrounding the granting of pharmacy applications in rural communities and that it is clearly not fit for purpose. That the local community were not able to formally voice their opposition or opinion I think shows a total lack of respect for the communities and local people who felt a new pharmacy would have a negative impact on existing services.

“The Scottish Government and Health Minister need to redouble their efforts to ensure that the legislation is amended sooner rather than later so that other rural communities do not suffer the same uncertainty as Castletown has. I will continue to push for a change to the legislation to ensure that common sense can prevail over these applications and local communities are involved in the decision making process. “

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