Campaign builds to get University of East Anglia a new pharmacy
By Neil Trainis
A petition launched by a staff member at the University of East Anglia to ensure its students have access to a pharmacy again after Boots closed its branch on the campus in July has attracted nearly 500 signatures.
The petition, started by UEA’s welfare, community and diversity officer Nathan Wyatt, warned that more than 17,000 students as well as hundreds of local residents have been left without a pharmacy nearby to get their medicines after Boots’ decision to close the branch.
“The students that rely on these services are forced to travel into the city centre, and with expensive tickets and unreliable services, this provides a significant barrier, particularly for disabled students,” the petition read, adding that a consultation to find a new pharmacy provider closes at the end of November.
“By signing this petition you are adding pressure to the NHS and showing that UEA needs a pharmacy!”
One respondent to the petition, Elise Page who said she works on the campus and is disabled, revealed she takes "quite a few important repeat prescription" medicines and is concerned that because she cannot get to other pharmacies in the area until after she finishes work, they will be closed by the time she gets there.
"I'm signing (the petition) because I'm a disabled person who works on campus and a campus pharmacy means I can look after my health and don't have to go without," she said.
The petition is part of the wider 'Save the UEA campus pharmacy' campaign by the university's students’ union which has been supported by the Labour MP for Norwich South Clive Lewis, who has expressed concerns that without a pharmacy on the campus, students and residents, especially those without cars, will find it difficult to get to other pharmacies.
Wyatt told the Eastern Daily Press that “at a time when NHS resources are so stretched, it is even more important that students can get access to the medicine and prescriptions that they need.”
“Until Covid, UEA students had three pharmacies just a short walk away. Now, we have no other option but to get a 30-minute bus into the city. It isn't fair that students have to accept this loss and now we are standing up and fighting back," he said.