Neighbourhood 'cut off' by pharmacies as residents fear it's slowly becoming 'ghost town'

Janet Fawdrey, Hampton North
Janet Fawdrey, Hampton North, said it feels like Hampton North is being closed down 'bit by bit' -Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

Residents have said their neighbourhood is turning into a 'ghost town' after it was hit by two pharmacy closures and they claim they no longer have 'any nearby chemist'

People living in Hampton North must travel longer distances or rely on loved ones to pick up their prescriptions since the Boots pharmacies on Tangley Park Road and Priory Road closed in October and November. They said it can take up to two weeks longer to get their medication.

Janet Fawdrey, who moved to Hampton North around 30 years ago, said 'everything used to be here, and now it's gone', including a dental practice and GP surgery. She said: "It's like they're closing us down bit by bit and they're trying to think [we're] not going to notice. Well I blinking well do because my feet are killing me.

"I'll wake up one morning and this is a bloody theme park or something and they'll have taken Sainsbury's away, but I blinking well hope not."

Ms Fawdrey now has to get a bus to go to Hanworth to pick up her medication after the Tangley Park Road pharmacy closed. She said:. "I was running low on one set of tablets and I thought it's a good job it's not life-threatening, but it does cause me problems."

29 Tangley Park Road, which was previously a Boots Pharmacy
-Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

Patients are now forced to go to the Boots Pharmacy on Station Approach in Hampton, a 19-minute walk from Tangley Park Road, or the Boots Pharmacy on Bear Road in Hanworth, a 15-minute walk away. It comes after Boots announced in June it would close 300 UK stores in close proximity to each other in plans to 'consolidate' the business.

But plans have been submitted to change the use of the Tangley Park Road unit into a takeaway. Residents told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) they want another pharmacy at the site and that the previous closure follows other cuts to vital services in Hampton North.

A petition launched by resident Nupur Majumdar in January described an 'urgent need' for another pharmacy to open on Tangley Park Road. The petition, which has been signed by 280 people, said residents no longer have 'any nearby chemist provision' and are 'now forced to undertake long walks or bus rides just to access basic pharmaceutical services'.

Susan Clarke, 72, who has a heart condition, said she is 'disgusted' at the pharmacy closures. She said: "It was very convenient and it's just not working now. It used to work and now the balance has gone."

Ms Clarke's partner has to travel further to pick up her prescription from the Bear Road pharmacy, which she said can take up to two weeks to arrive. She said: "They keep me alive and to have to wait a fortnight for them, it's not on."

Her partner added the neighbourhood would become a 'ghost town' if the Sainsbury's next to the old Tangley Park Road pharmacy shut.

A survey by Healthwatch Richmond, published in January, found waiting times were worse at the Station Approach pharmacy for 98 per cent of nearly 700 respondents since the Hampton pharmacy closures. A total of 61 per cent of respondents said their travel time had increased by at least 15 minutes.

The report by Healthwatch Richmond said the Station Approach pharmacy initially struggled to meet increased demand caused by the closures. It said it has since increased capacity, but it has changed to a prescription-only service and has 'limited indoor waiting space' and 'very limited seating'. The report added the Bear Road pharmacy was 'visibly struggling to meet demands and keep up-to-date with prescription requests' and showed issues had 'not been resolved for surrounding pharmacies'.

Eve Nightly-Griffith, 82, described the closure of the 'lovely' Tangley Park Road pharmacy as 'ridiculous'. She told the LDRS the Station Approach pharmacy is 'too far' away and the increased demand it has experienced is 'crazy'.

She added: "I'm not very good at walking. I've got a [Blue Badge] but you still can't find parking there. That's one thing, but you've got to queue outside in the rain and it's not very nice."

An 89-year-old woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she relied on the Tangley Park Road pharmacy to pick up her medication, which she must now have delivered. She said: "Lots of people have complained around here... it's really an inconvenience, not just for medication but for anything - aspirin, paracetamol, sun cream... I know you can get things in Sainsbury's but for ages I haven't been able to get any paracetamol in there. I had to get people to get it for me because I can't swallow the tablets so I can only have the capsules."

A 70-year-old woman, who wished to remain anonymous, also described her disappointment at the plans to turn the old Tangley Park Road pharmacy into a takeaway. She said the area would benefit from a new cafe instead, adding: "There isn't anything in Hampton North, which is a great shame. We've got a nice open area here and nowhere where you can just sit and talk to other people."

Boots declined to comment.

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