‘Witterings late-night pharmacy is ruining our trade’

AN INDEPENDENT pharmacist has expressed outrage over the arrival of a third pharmacy in East Wittering, despite 200 objections from residents.

Kartik Patel runs Pharmacy Link which has a store in the village alongside a Boots pharmacy.

He said since the doctors’ surgery opened a pharmacy one month ago, his customer base has reduced by 80 per cent.

“It’s disappointing a third pharmacy has opened in the face of huge opposition from parish councils, local residents and assurances from Witterings Medical Centre the proposals to open a late-night pharmacy in the village had been withdrawn,” he said.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of local independent businesses in the village that have closed down in the face of large new developments.

“The new proposed Co-op at The Royal Oak site is another example of how this beautiful village is turning into a town.

“All competition is healthy and we will continue to provide the best possible service at Pharmacy Link. However, like any business, we cannot survive without our customers.

“If we are forced to close, this will lead to job losses for local residents and the lack of choice will be devastating to the local community.

“We’ve got great staff at Pharmacy Link and we really need local residents to rally around and support local independent businesses.”

Boots Pharmacy declined to comment, but is said to be struggling since the late-night pharmacy opened in the building of Witterings Medical Centre.

The problem most residents had with the application for a third pharmacy was that the pharmacy would be open until 11pm.

At the time the application was submitted, resident Chris Chapman said: “Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to get a second doctors’ surgery, as it’s so hard to get an appointment and it would be good to have a choice?

“What’s the point in a third pharmacy when it’s so hard to get a prescription?”

East Wittering and Bracklesham parish councillors said a third pharmacy would be ‘unnecessary and undesirable’.

After 200 objections flooded into to Chichester District Council, the application was soon withdrawn, but plans went ahead anyway.

A spokeswoman for NHS England, said: “The new pharmacy application from JMD Health was approved by the Pharmacy Committee for NHS Sussex in November 2012.

“The application met the criteria required for inclusion in the pharmaceutical list for 
this area.”

NHS guidelines state doctors and medical centres must not point patients towards one pharmacy over another.