New pharmacy for Nailsea
By Carol_Deacon | Friday, November 09, 2012, 12:42
Nailsea is to get a new 'open all hours' pharmacy in time for Christmas.
It is set to open at Tower House Medical Centre at the beginning of December.
Currently people living locally have to make a round trip of more than 10 miles to a neighbouring town to get late night prescriptions.
Tower House Pharmacy is a joint venture by the doctors of Nailsea Family Practice and Community Pharmacies (UK) Ltd the leading provider of integrated services for GPs.
Despite three chemists Nailsea has not had an out-of-hours pharmacy service for several years.
Boots at Somerset Square and Cohen's at Somerset Square and High Street all close at 6pm on weekdays, even earlier on Saturdays and do not open at all on Sundays.
Tower House Pharmacy will have a separate front entrance from the medical centre and be open to the community as well as the 11,400 patients registered with Nailsea Family Practice from 7am-10.30pm from Monday to Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sundays.
Practice manager Carole Brooke said: "Right from the start the pharmacy will be open for 100 hours per week so no more dashing to Clevedon for prescriptions if a patient has a late appointment with the doctor.
"It will, of course, take some time to get everything set up but in due course, we hope that electronic prescriptions can be used to save all those bits of paper.
"The disruption from the building work should only last for around three months in total and we hope to be finished by Christmas.
"Tower House Pharmacy is aiming to open a month earlier than originally expected with a very patient-centred opening ceremony"
An experienced pharmacy manager has been recruited along with two other dispensing staff.
The pharmacy didn't need change-of-use planning permission as unlike other chemists it won't be selling make-up, perfume and toiletries.
Mrs Brooke said: "It isn't a shop so we won't be selling anything other than medications so we have been assured we don't need planning permission.
"It will provide the services one would expect of a good pharmacy these days – home delivery, repeat prescription service, advice for minor injuries/illnesses and support for stopping smoking."
However, a North Somerset Council compliance monitoring officer has visited the medical centre on the request of its planning enforcement department.
In a report to Nailsea Town Council it was confirmed: "...planning permission for the development is not required: the reason being that the pharmacy is incidental to the main use of the building as a doctors' surgery...should the pharmacy be advertised or used by persons not associated with the practice a change-of-use could arise in future...".
Following a recommendation by the Care Quality Commission the whole building is having a bit of a refurbishment with plans for three new treatment rooms and a minor operations room.
The chronic disease clinic is being moved up to the first floor and the ground floor waiting room is getting a fresh coat of paint, vinyl flooring and updated children's play area with a large activity table.
A second waiting room on the first floor is also being transformed to mirror the services on offer downstairs.
Mrs Brooke added: "We are taking the opportunity to update and improve our treatment room facilities as per the recommendations of the CQC – that is; we should now have individual treatment rooms rather than one room with curtained off cubicles.
"This is to ensure privacy, confidentiality and dignity for patients.
"Currently, with the set up as it is – three cubicles with curtained fronts - affords little in the way of patient confidentiality and dignity."
The purpose built three- storey Stockway South surgery opened 12 years ago and houses nine doctors, more than 30 ancillary staff as well as community nursing teams.
They moved just a few yards along the car park from what was Nailsea Health Centre and built in the 1960s as part of the Crown Glass Shopping Centre complex.
This was vacated by Weston College in 2010 and has remained empty ever since.
Alder King is marketing the site at a sale guide price of £805,000 or it is available to rent at £70K per annum.