Appeal over Ballynure pharmacy

Yew Tree Health and Yew Beauty, Ballynure. INLT 26-236-AM
Yew Tree Health and Yew Beauty, Ballynure. INLT 26-236-AM

A Ballynure couple are redoubling efforts to introduce a pharmaceutical service at their shop, after the original application was refused.

Yew Tree Health opened on Main Street in the village at the end of June.

Owned by Karen and David Cross, the retail space stocks a range of health-related items, but is not licensed to dispense prescription drugs.

Former community nurse Karen said: “We identified a need for a pharmacy in Ballynure which would serve the population of the surrounding rural areas who currently have to travel to Ballyclare, Larne or Templepatrick to avail of pharmaceutical services.

“This poses a great problem for many individuals, especially those with chronic health problems and disabilities, the elderly and the very young, and those with no access to a car during business hours who are further hindered by inadequate transport links to neighbouring towns.”

Prior to the shop’s opening, the couple applied to the Health and Social Care Board’s Pharmacy Practices Committee for inclusion on the pharmaceutical list.

The request was supported by a number of local political representatives, and included a 760-signature petition.

However, the application was turned down by the committee.

“The rationale given for their decision was that Ballynure and surrounding areas were not shown to be ‘in need’ of a new pharmacy at the Main Street premises and also that Ballynure did not rate high enough on the list of deprived areas in Northern Ireland,” said Karen.

“We have submitted an appeal against the decision and are waiting to proceed to the next stage of the process.”

A spokesperson from the Health and Social Care Board said: “The Pharmacy Practices Committee considers requests for inclusion in the pharmaceutical list, applications to relocate premises where this does not meet the criteria for a ‘minor’ relocation, and applications to provide domiciliary oxygen as an additional pharmaceutical service.

“The committee is convened when applications are made and comprises seven members, including a chair, vice chair, three pharmacists and two non-pharmacists/lay members. All decisions regarding requests are communicated to applicants in writing and information on how to appeal decisions are included with this.”