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Community 'pulled together' to reopen pharmacy after fire

The fire burned out several shops last month, the fire brigade confirmed. Credit: Newton Abbot Fire Station
The fire burned out several shops last month, the fire brigade confirmed. Credit: Newton Abbot Fire Station

A Devon pharmacy has reopened in a temporary building with help from the local community after it was damaged by a fire.

Buckland Pharmacy in Newton Abbott opened its doors for prescriptions and services last Wednesday (August 23), 300 yards away from the original pharmacy premises, superintendent pharmacist Sian Retallick told C+D last week (August 24).

The prefabricated building was “kitted out as a pharmacy” and offers all the services that had been previously available in Buckland Pharmacy, including management of acute prescriptions, medicines use reviews (MURs) and the new medicine service (NMS), Ms Retallick said.

The pharmacy was forced to close following a fire that burned out several shops nearby last month (July 22).

“Fantastic” local community

“The local surgery and community were fantastic,” Ms Retallick stressed. “We've all pulled together to maintain functionality to help the most vulnerable.”

She added she did not know when they can move back into the previous building, but said they were “hoping for February next year”.

“Local councillor Gordon Hook worked with the council to gain planning permission for a portacabin to be established on the site of the old school, so we were able to reopen,” Ms Retallick said. “Customers were more than happy to find it back on site – they missed their local community pharmacy.”

Ms Retallick added that Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) had also been “very supportive” following the fire and said some of the community are organising a fundraising event for the businesses most affected.

“Medication covered in soot”

The fire brigade confirmed the roofs of five commercial properties were damaged and one person suffered minor burns at the incident.

“The medication was covered in soot,” Ms Retallick said. “There wasn’t much damage at the front [of the pharmacy] but the dispensary took the main hit.”

Reducing a pharmacy’s fire risk

To help deal with the potential damage after a fire Ms Retallick recommended pharmacies have “contingency plans of how to cope”.

“Make sure that your insurance covers you 100% and get advice about what would happen if there was a fire,” she added.

How has your pharmacy bounced back from a disaster?

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

A fire rips through a bricks and mortar pharmacy and they continue to provide first class care to their patients.

Likewise, pharmacies in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and elsewhere still making patient care their first concern despite being several feet underwater after massive flooding.

Now, compare this to an online pharmacy shutting down for weeks over the busiest period of the year due to pre-planned equipment and premises upgrades. Maybe they were busy helping an Australian lottery company...?

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