Patients and customers have rallied behind a Horsham pharmacy amid fears it could be under threat because of government plans to cut the number of independent chemists to save NHS cash.
Hundreds have signed a protest petition in support of Nories Pharmacy in Oakhill Road, Horsham, which has served the town for decades.
One regular user - Robert Worley, of Ayshe Court Drive - said: “This bizarre plan demonstrates the lack of joined-up thinking in some areas of government. On one hand, the Department of Health recently advised those suffering from colds or a sore throat to first consult their local pharmacist this winter - thus relieving the pressure on overworked general practitioners.
“Now we hear that local pharmacies are under threat of closure.” He said it would be ‘devastating’ if Nories was forced to close because it offered a wide range of services.
“Nories is an efficient and well-run pharmacy which not only serves the immediate local community but attracts customers from as far afield as Warnham, Lower Beeding, Nuthurst and Mannings Heath,” he added.
Nories manager Mrs Folashade Fafhoro said hundreds of customers had signed a petition supporting Nories to the National Pharmaceutical Association.
And pharmacy owner Mr Shailesh Amin has pledged to ensure the pharmacy’s future. “We will survive,” he said, “but some smaller pharmacies may not.”
He said that Nories continually trained its staff to provide more services to help alleviate pressure at GP surgeries.
He said many independent pharmacies, such as Nories, went beyond the call of duty to serve local communities.
“As an example you can walk into pharmacies any day of the week and get a flu vaccine which makes this vital service easily accessible.”
He asked why the Department of Health did not approach pharmacy bodies to discuss how best pharmacists themselves could help in savings or in alleviating GP pressure by further improving access to a range of services.
He added: “We at Nories have tremendous support from the local population and we will survive no matter what is thrown at us.”