Balmullo pharmacy decision a bitter pill to swallow

Councillor Tim Brett outside the Balmullo surgery.
Councillor Tim Brett outside the Balmullo surgery.

Angry residents of Balmullo are to lodge an appeal after an application to open a pharmacy in the village was rejected yet again.

NHS Fife’s pharmacy practices committee turned down a request from pharmacist Raymond Kelly to open a facility in the doctors’ surgery in Pitcairn Drive, saying there was already adequate provision in Leuchars, two miles away.

The three-strong committee concluded that a pharmacy in Balmullo was ‘neither necessary nor desirable’. But villagers say that means their community is the largest in Fife without any pharmacy provision and their wishes have been “ignored” by the committee.

Now the local community council is planning to appeal the decision.

“I am bitterly disappointed on behalf of the residents of Balmullo,” said Councillor Tim Brett.

“It is hugely frustrating for them, particularly for those who don’t have their own transport.”

At present, Mr Kelly provides a drop-off service for Balmullo, collecting prescriptions from the surgery, fulfilling them in his premises in Falkland and dropping them back off again.

The doctors lost their right to dispense prescriptions almost seven years ago after the committee approved an application by James Semple to open a pharmacy in Leuchars Post Office.

The decision sparked a huge row in Balmullo and many villagers boycotted the new facility in protest.

“Pharmacies these days are playing a much more active role than they ever used to do,” said Councillor Brett.

“People are consulting pharmacists about medical complaints they might previously have gone to the doctor with.

“The Post Office premises is very small; access is difficult for people in wheelchairs and there are parking issues.

“It may be only two miles away but if you’re elderly, disabled, or unable to drive, that two miles is a long way.

“Once again villagers’ wishes have been ignored.”