“The situation at Lloyds Pharmacy in Henfield is completely unacceptable,” said Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs, following a visit to the village on Friday (11th November).
The pharmacy in Henfield has recently reduced its opening hours and this has led to customers queueing for their prescriptions, sometimes in bad weather, for more than an hour. The pharmacy is now only open from 9 to 5, closed at lunchtimes, and will no longer be open on a Saturday.
The pharmacy have blamed the deteriorating situation on the lack of a permanent pharmacist, with the branch relying on locum pharmacists who often travel from as far as London to provide cover. The MP emphsied that the issues being experienced were not the fault of the staff working in the branch.
Dozens of frustrated residents have complained to the pharmacy and shared their views with Andrew Griffith as their local MP. The parish council and Henfield Medical Centre have also weighed in with their support to seek improvements for residents.
After seeing the scenes of the long queues, including many elderly and frail customers, Andrew Griffith spoke about the action he is taking. Having already written to the Chief Executive of LloydsPharmacy, Kevin Birch, the MP has now advised government ministers of the situation. He will be meeting with the Health Minister and the Director of NHS Primary Care in Sussex to discuss the urgent short-term help needed, as well looking for a longer-term plan.
Andrew Griffith also met with Dr Karen Crawford-Clarke, GP Partner of the Henfield Medical Centre, to discuss the impact that this is having on the GPs, nurses and staff. The GPs are supporting patients by re-issuing prescriptions for collection at alternative dispensaries, but recognise that this is not a solution for all patients.
“The situation of Lloyds Pharmacy in Henfield is completely unacceptable. Yesterday, whilst holding my weekly surgery in Henfield, I visited and talked to those queuing outside on a number of occasions. Short opening hours, weekend closures and long handling times meant that residents are queuing for hours and often join the queue only to be turned away unseen at the next closing times. This presents an insufferable burden on those in work, those who are frail or vulnerable or simply those juggling busy commitments.
“This is not fault of the staff working in Lloyds. But the system has not worked as it should in Henfield for far too long and with the cold days and dark evenings approaching it needs to be fixed fast.”
“I have previously raised this with the CEO of Lloyds and will do so again. Yesterday I also met with Dr Karen Crawford Clarke and Dr Gordana Ninkovic-Chapman of the Henfield Medical Centre, Councillor Josh Potts and the Chairman of the Henfield Parish Council.
“I will also be meeting with the Health Minister responsible for the laws around the licensing of Pharmacies to see if exceptions can be made to the rules preventing a surgery dispensing to those living near a pharmacy and I will seek a call with the Director of NHS Primary Care in Sussex who has the responsibility for the provision of pharmacy services.”