Jan 23 2013 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Concerned parents have hit out at plans to open a pharmacy within 100 yards of Chapelside Primary School.
Stephen Wyber, Michelle Cameron and Nikki Ferguson say they are “disgusted” by the possibility of methadone addicts picking up their medication while their children attend school and nursery nearby.
The proposal by Health Pharmacy Ltd would see a new community chemist open its doors at 165c Chapel Street where they would offer “services for patients with substance misuse addictions”.
And this is something that does not sit comfortably with Stephen.
He said: “My daughter Erin attends Chapelside Primary and I have a son starting up at the nursery next year and I wouldn’t feel safe having them go to school if addicts were going to be hanging around.
“I am totally disgusted that a company thinks it is OK to allow this directly next to a primary school and nursery where very young children will be going about their daily commute to school.
“It is a fact that drug addicts commit crimes to support their habit and plenty of parents give their kids lunch money and I’d be afraid they would get it stolen from them.
“To allow these people to come and get their daily fix next to a school beggars belief.”
Nikki Ferguson is the chair of Chapelside Primary’s parent and teacher association and, despite concerns over the facilities on offer locally, she shares Stephen’s anger.
She said: “This is an area of high deprivation but, even for the convenience factor of having a pharmacy so close, I still don’t want it because of its proximity to the school.
“Our children’s safety cannot be risked in this manner.”
Fellow PTA member Michelle Cameron added: “I think this proposal is shocking and should be rejected.
“This area is bad enough for dodgy types hanging about, never mind adding to it by having addicts arriving to get their methadone.”
But Health Pharmacy Ltd have moved to reassure those concerned about the presence of addicts at the proposed pharmacy, while claiming the facility is badly needed for the people of Chapelside.
Spokesman Asif Majid said: “The percentage of drug users attending the pharmacy will be very low and it’s important to remember these people are ill.
“But we will not allow them to come out in the mornings and school lunchtimes and if the patients don’t abide by that they won’t get their dosage – which, as you can imagine, would be a big thing for them.
“We can categorically say these patients won’t be standing outside at times when kids are going in and out of school.
“We ran a pharmacy in Clarkston for 14 years that was closer to a school than this proposed site will be and lots of pharmacies in Monklands are near schools. It just comes down to how professional you are to deal with it, which we are.”
Asif added: “Chapelside is the only area in Airdrie North not covered by a pharmacy and people have to go to the town centre for their medication.
“There used to be two doctors based in the area within 20 yards of the proposed site but they moved on so the pharmacy will be able to provide locals with health advice too.
“And our door-to-door consultations in the area came back with 92 to 95 per cent support for the new pharmacy from over 500 responses, including disabled people and mums with prams who say it will be a great thing for them.”
Health Pharmacy Ltd’s proposal has been submitted to NHS Lanarkshire and will be evaluated before a decision is taken.
An NHS Lanarkshire spokesperson said: “An application has been received by NHS Lanarkshire from Health Pharmacy Ltd to provide pharmaceutical services from premises at 165c Chapel Street, Airdrie.
“The application shall, in due course, be considered by the pharmacy practices committee, a statutory committee of the NHS Lanarkshire Board. The decision shall be notified to the applicant and interested parties (as defined within the regulations) in writing and of their right of appeal.”