Morning after pill halts Derby pharmacy move, High Court rules

Superdrug in Derby's Intu shopping centre
Image caption The Superdrug store in Derby's intu shopping centre provides pharmacy services

Plans to relocate a pharmacy have been crushed by the High Court due to the potential impact on women seeking the morning after pill.

Community Pharmacies (UK) Ltd hoped to move the Superdrug branch in Derby's intu shopping centre to a GP surgery on Wilson Street, 2,000ft (600m) away.

The NHS, which blocked the move, said the surgery would be less accessible to women seeking emergency contraception.

Mr Justice Langstaff dismissed the pharmacy firm's challenge.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The GP surgery on Wilson Street is 2,000ft (600m) away from the Superdrug store

An NHS panel said many of Superdrug's customers were young women and there was a risk they would be inconvenienced by the move.

It added the obvious route to the new location would pass a homeless night shelter at Milestone House, on Green Lane.

The health service raised concerns some of those seeking shelter there would be suffering from drug or alcohol problems and "might indulge in anti-social behaviour or begging".

The High Court judge said the NHS was entitled to take into account the particular needs of women.

Mr Langstaff added that those accustomed to getting the morning after pill from Superdrug were a group to whom the relocated pharmacy might be "significantly less accessible".

Lisa Hughes, from the NHS Litigation Authority, said the organisation is "gratified that the judge has confirmed our approach to such decisions, where we aim to ensure that the needs of all patient groups are met when we are considering access to pharmaceutical services".

Andrew Murray, managing director for the pharmacy company, said the relocation would have "enabled us to provide a better service to local patients".

"Unfortunately, sometimes regulation gets in the way of common sense," he said.

"We are disappointed in the result, but have no further comments to make."

Image caption Mr Justice Langstaff said the NHS was entitled to take into account the particular needs of women seeking the morning after pill

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