Upper Heyford is a village and civil parish about 6 miles northwest of Bicester in Oxfordshire, England. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 1,295 but since that time a large new housing development has commenced with associated commercial, retail, leisure and community services. Our client was a GP practice based in Bicester and this application was unusual as the doctors wanted to use the pharmacy to provide GP consulting rooms so that they could provide GP services to the local community. Normally it is the creation of a GP practice that comes first, but in this case it was the pharmacy that was leading the provision of health care services.
Despite extensive local support, NHS England refused the application and we appealed on behalf of our client. The appeal was considered by way of an oral hearing and we are delighted that the oral hearing panel accepted that there was a need for a pharmacy and granted the application.
As the area was rural in nature and the population living within 1.6km was less that 2,750 we also had to argue that the use of the pharmacy would in fact be equivalent or higher than if the population was 2,750. The oral hearing panel accepted our argument and importantly this means that doctors will no longer be able to dispense to patients who live in Upper Heyford. This is an important step to securing the future of the pharmacy and the new associated GP surgery.
Our client has now secured premises and intends to open towards the end of 2021.