What has happened?

I CAN remember the day when pharmacy services in Mirfield consisted of three private independent shops.

They had a rota service so that each evening, Sunday and bank holiday one of them would be open and service levels were high.

Essentially, the three private chemists were in competition with each other so out of hours services were usually available in an emergency, often by a phone call to the owner.

What do we have now? No late evening or Sunday service and three Boots chemist shops that close on the dot.

At lunchtimes it is not possible to buy some medicines. At the health centre we have long waiting times and often medicines out of stock meaning patients have to return at a later date to complete the doctor’s prescription. I have no complaints with the staff, I am sure they also feel frustrated, but Mirfield residents are being subjected to poor service levels as a result of a Boots monopoly.

I and many of my friends and neighbours now travel to the only private pharmacy for miles around in the new Ravensthorpe retail park where their long hours (100 per week), high quality of service and patient care have restored the qualities we used to have back in the “Old Days”.

Without a car, however, taking advantage of such services was difficult, but now we have the best of both worlds as we can get our prescriptions delivered without even having to go to the doctor.

I have always preferred to support local traders where possible as they form an essential part of the community and residents would be disadvantaged if they were to disappear. Remember the outcry before Tesco came to the Black Bull?

ANTHONY PEEL

Richard Thorpe Avenue

MIRFIELD