Pharmacy halted in attempt to prevent pharmacist operating in same village
By Neil Trainis
A judge in Scotland has refused a petition by a pharmacy business for a judicial review which has halted its attempt to overturn a health board’s decision to allow a pharmacist to operate in the same South Ayrshire village.
Burns Pharmacy Ltd, which serves patients in Monkton from Prestwick, had appealed against the National Appeal Panel’s ruling to uphold Ayrshire and Arran Health Board’s decision to accept an application from Sean Manson to be included on the pharmaceutical list, allowing him to provide pharmacy services in the village. Monkton is served by eight pharmacies, four to the south in Prestwick and four in Troon and Dundonald in the north.
The Panel dismissed that appeal, leading Burns Pharmacy Ltd to apply for a judicial review. However, Lord Harrower refused its petition after the company argued the Panel had failed to provide adequate reasons for its decision to uphold the Board’s decision.
Lord Harrower’s judgement is the latest instalment in a fairly long-running dispute. In 2017, Manson, who wanted to provide pharmaceutical services from premises in Monkton at 21 Main Street, applied to the Board to be included on the pharmaceutical list. His application was initially granted but after an appeal by Burns Pharmacy Ltd and Boots, the application was refused in September 2018.
Manson appealed to the Panel, which hears claims against decisions by Boards regarding applications for entry, but the Panel dismissed his appeal in January 2019.
In August 2021, Manson submitted a second application to the Board to operate at a different premises in the village at Old Monkton Primary School. In this application, Manson said residents found it difficult to access pharmacies in Troon and Prestwick and claimed existing services to Monkton were inadequate.
The main issue for the Board was accessibility. It heard that travel to those pharmacies by foot was “unsafe and unfeasible, public transport was costly and unreliable” and “it was almost irrelevant that residents had access to cars” because of “parking difficulties at the existing pharmacies.”
The Board also heard that according to a consultation analysis report, an “overwhelming” majority residents in Monkton - 92.4 per cent - wanted an in-village pharmacy and that need was reinforced by plans for additional housing developments. In November 2021, the Board granted Manson’s application.
Burns Pharmacy Ltd and two other pharmacies, Boots and H&K Willis Ltd, went to the Panel to appeal against the Board’s decision to grant Manson’s application.
In their appeal, Burns Pharmacy Ltd, Boots and H&K Willis Ltd argued the Board’s committee had failed to give “adequate reasons” why the existing pharmacy service to the village was “inadequate.” It was also contended that parking issues did not prove the service was inadequate.
The Panel referred the matter back to the Board’s committee to “clarify its decision” and in June 2022, the Board told the Panel it had “revisited” the evidence and maintained its decision to grant Manson the application.
Burns Pharmacy Ltd and Boots appealed but in August 2022, the Panel rejected their appeal. That prompted Burns Pharmacy Ltd to apply for the judicial review which was denied by the judge.