NEIGHBOURS are fighting plans to open a late-night pharmacy at Northwood Health Centre.
The business could be required to provide a needle exchange for heroin addicts, which opponents fear could lead to anti-social behaviour.
There are also concerns existing pharmacies may be forced to close, leaving more empty retail spaces in the area.
“This is just pure greed, it will kill the High Street,” said Andrew Riley, chairman of Northwood Hills Residents’ Association.
He has written to Dr Christopher Stern of the Carepoint practice – one of three GP practices at the health centre – appealing to him to withdraw the plans.
The letter reads: “Any additional services provided by the centre should focus on areas of the health service not already available in the immediate area.”
In September 2012, Dr Stern was granted a contract to run an NHS 100-hour-a-week pharmacy, and now plans to open it at the centre in Acre Way.
The 100-hour rule exempted pharmacies from the normal NHS contract application procedure, on condition they open for at least 100 hours a week.
It was scrapped in September 2012, after a huge surge of seemingly unwanted pharmacies opened, destabilising existing ones with little apparent benefit to patients.
The health centre’s application was received just before this cut-off date so had to be granted.
Dr Stern said: “It will clearly address the needs of the local community. The closest pharmacy currently providing out of hour services is four miles away in South Ruislip.”
Northwood and Northwood Hills have a large and growing elderly population that benefit from the home delivery services provided by existing pharmacies, but it is uncertain whether the new 100-hour pharmacy will offer this option.
“We have deep concerns about the type of service that would be provided by the proposed pharmacy,” said Tony Ellis, chairman of Northwood Residents’ Association.
“The needle exchange could bring unsociable behaviour to a quiet residential area and in turn be a drain on scarce police resources.”
In response, Dr Stern said: “It is proven that by offering supervised consumption, drug use decreases.
“Drug treatment aims to move users towards positive changes in their lives and we would not want to discriminate against this sort of patient which we know exists.”
He says the plans simply address the shortfalls outlined in Hillingdon’s Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA), including emergency contraception, smoking cessation and minor ailment services.
“Our intention is not to destabilise any existing pharmacies,” he added.
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