THE Co-operative Pharmacy Association (CPA), which represents over 500 Co-op community pharmacies across the UK, has welcomed Government plans to relax controls on the opening of new pharmacies.
Key features of the new plans including the granting of a pharmacy contract to any organisation prepared to open in large shopping developments over 15,000 square metres; prepared to open more than 100 hours per week; pharmacies in new one-stop primary care centres; and internet or mail-order based businesses.
John Makepeace, chairman of the CPA, said that the Movement was happy to accept the Government's challenge to provide more innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. `There have been major changes both in the way people want to shop for pharmaceutical goods and in the way those goods can be provided.
`As consumer-owned organisations, co-operative pharmacists are dedicated to putting customers first and we will now be looking very carefully at ways in which we can respond to the new regulatory circumstances.
`Co-ops are very much community based and have pharmacies in many hundreds of towns across the country as well as convenience stores. We will be looking both at new services we can offer and ways we might be able to provide those services through the convenience store format.
`In the future, much more emphasis will be placed on pharmacists as part of local healthcare provision and we are determined to ensure we play our role to full.`