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Letter: Update on Pharmacy Provision in Merrow

Published on: 26 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 27 Jan, 2024

From: Angela Richardson

Conservative MP for Guildford

This week, I raised with Andrea Leadsom, Minister for Public Health, Start of Life and Primary Care, the unsustainable provision of pharmaceutical services in the Burpham and Merrow area, and as promised, I will continue to update residents as to how the situation develops.

I can report that I have heard back from Marc Donovan OBE, Healthcare Development and Public Affairs Director at Boots, having written to him last week to ask that he confirms the actions the company is taking to improve provision at Epsom Road and to ensure the pharmacy is fit for purpose.

Marc has accepted that the Epsom Road pharmacy needs an upgrade to help staff manage the extra demand and workload. I have been informed that the store is being supported by the local Boots leadership team with frequent interventions and visits to support its efficiency and performance.

Among others, below are some of the measures which Marc informed me that Boots is implementing to support the pharmacy:

  • A feasibility study is being prepared which will make recommendations for a layout change, which will likely include an enlarged dispensary and more storage and waiting space in the coming weeks.
  • The store is being supported by a second pharmacist to help staff improve service levels and manage workload.
  • An additional PC terminal and handheld device have been deployed to help improve the store’s workflow processes and reduce patient waiting times.
  • More dispensing process and technological improvements are planned, such as a move to Boots’ Dispensing Support Pharmacy in mid-February, which I am informed will provide more centralised dispensing support and cut some of the prescription workload at store level.
  • The workforce has increased with a comprehensive people plan which has been implemented for the next four weeks to provide appropriate pharmacist and healthcare counter resource.

I am pleased that Marc has offered to give me a call to enable us to discuss these points in detail, which I will be accepting.

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Responses to Letter: Update on Pharmacy Provision in Merrow

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 26, 2024 at 12:54 pm

    It is a great shame these improvements were not done prior to closing Boots in Kingfisher Drive.

    Local people did warn that chaos would ensue.

    The correct sequencing of cart and horse comes to mind.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    January 26, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    One has to believe that the representative of Boots has the financial authority to commit to the proposals and commission, in short order, the building work. Whilst interesting they are all in the future, but when in the future – immediately, next month, during the next financial year, or when?

    The only tangible promise is a discussion. Has Ms Angela Richardson contacted the Surrey Heartlands ICB to discover the reason behind the alleged refusal of an application to open a pharmacy in Burpham and what was the outcome of this discussion. The ICB’s own response was bureaucratic gobbledegook.

    Meetings and conversations are a fine diversion but the real need is not a further fireside chat or another debate but a pharmacy that fits the needs of the residents and the many thousands of patients who are registered with the only GP practice in Burpham and Merrow.

  3. J Patttison Reply

    January 28, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    The additional staff, second pharmacist and another handset are all in place yet it still took nearly an hour on Friday to collect a prescription.

    A lot more is going to be needed to rescue this failing service from Boots plc.

  4. Alan Morris Reply

    February 3, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    It’s worth making the observation that not only do we not have a pharmacy in Burpham or Merrow Park but that the Boots Branch in Stoughton Road, Bellfields now regularly has queues sometimes extending on the pavement with waiting times approaching an hour. It isn’t therefore a problem that only afflicts the Merrow Branch in Epsom Road. It would be good to hear that our MP and the Management of Boots were treating the Bellfield situation equally seriously.

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