Petition reveals need for a second licensed pharmacy near Stansted Surgery to serve the lower part of the village

A petition calling for a second licensed pharmacy at Stansted Mountfitchet – next to Stansted Surgery so it can serve the lower part of the village – has been signed by 664 people.

The document, compiled by village campaigner Ray Woodcock with the support of the parish council, aims to persuade Essex Health and Welfare Council of the need for another pharmacist.

It follows an inquiry into Essex’s pharmaceutical assessment needs carried out by the county council over Christmas, the results of which are expected this summer.

Stansted’s Lower Street Pharmacy is not authorized to dispense emergency prescriptions. Photo: Vikki Lince

Currently, Boots on the B1383 Cambridge Road is the only licensed pharmacy for the whole of the village and surrounding communities. The Stansted Pharmacy in Castle Maltings, Lower Street, next to the surgery, is not licensed to dispense emergency prescriptions.

Mr Woodcock said Boots was under ‘massive pressure’, closing for an hour at lunchtime due to demand, and authorities needed to be informed and ‘have a clear understanding of the thinking of the community regarding a additional, independent licensed dispensing pharmacy as close to Stansted Surgery as possible”.

Many people who signed the petition added comments and cited difficulties in negotiating Chapel Hill to reach Boots.

“I will never forget one person who signed my petition: a young woman in a mobility chair,” Mr Woodcock said. “She lives in Stansted and tries and wants to be as independent as possible, but she needs some help.

“This lady needs various medications but she cannot get them herself. Her wheelchair will not carry her up the steep hill of Chapel Hill. Even if it did, when she arrives at Boots, she is unable to enter or exit the store because it has steps, it does not meet disability standards.

“She asked me what stopped Stansted Pharmacy, which is next to Stansted Surgery, from having a dispensing license.”

Other comments from villagers include:

  • It is difficult to climb the steep hill to get my medicine from the Cambridge Road pharmacy;
  • It makes so much sense to have a dispensing pharmacist next to Stansted Surgery;
  • I don’t have a car, I have no choice but to walk up the steep hill of Chapel Hill to get my medicine;
  • The dispensing pharmacy in Cambridge Road seems overloaded, I have to wait up to 30 minutes to be served. Sometimes I have to wait outside when it rains;
  • Boots is now closed between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily. I have to take time off work to take my medication.

Mr Woodcock, who intends to raise the matter at the full meeting of Uttlesford District Council on February 22, said: ‘The only conclusion can be that another licensed pharmacy is urgently needed to issue NHS prescriptions.”

Parish Council Chair Maureen Caton said Stansted District Council members would also seek support from the Uttlesford Health and Welfare Council. “There are new expectations around pharmaceutical supply and we need to work with our local practice,” she said.

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