Residents across Central Bedfordshire Council are being invited to share their views on the current level of pharmacy services in the county by December 15.
The findings will be used by NHS England to decide whether to approve applications for new pharmacies or commission new pharmacy services in Central Bedfordshire.
The current Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment for Central Bedfordshire suggests that the provision within the county remains sufficient and in line with national averages, with 22 pharmacy providers per 100,000 residents and 6,436 prescriptions dispensed per month compared to the national average of 6,628 for 2012-13.
The assessment also indicates that most Central Bedfordshire residents currently live within a mile of one of the county’s 42 pharmacies, with four new pharmacies opening this year and a total of five pharmacies now able to stay open for one hundred hours per week.
The consultation is being held jointly by Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Bedford Borough Councils on their individual Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments, to examine the current services provided across the authority areas and identify any gaps where the needs of the population are not being met.
Cllr Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care, Health and Housing, said: “The local pharmacy plays a major role within the community, one which goes beyond selling and dispensing medicine. Pharmacies provide help with stopping smoking, sexual health services, support for drug users, flu vaccinations, and medical advice.
“A trip to the chemist can eliminate the need to visit a GP and is a quick, practical solution to many common ailments.
“Anyone who currently uses local pharmaceutical services is strongly encouraged to express their views, which we can then take into account when shaping provision across the county.”
To have your say, or for more information, including full printed copies of the draft assessment and versions in other formats or languages, visit http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations or call 0300 300 8302.
Alternatively, residents can call in at their local pharmacy, GP surgery, library or Council Office to view the Executive Summary and collect a survey.