THE Blandford Group Practice has applied to NHS Services to dispense prescriptions from Shottsford House in Heddington Drive, and a consultation is underway with interested parties and the general public giving them until June 19 to respond.

Those consulted, in addition to Blandford Town Council which was due to consider the application at its planning meeting on May 24, include the two remaining Boots pharmacies and the Blandford Group Practice Patient Participation Group.

A doctors’ surgery needs the permission of NHS England to give patients medicines prescribed by doctors and/or nurses at the practice which can be given as long as their patients live in an area considered ‘rural in character’ and more than 1.6km (measured in a straight line) from a pharmacy.

The Group Practice, operating out of Eagle House Surgery and Whitecliff Surgery in Whitecliff Mill Street with a branch site in Child Okeford, currently dispenses from its pharmacy at the Whitecliff Surgery.

Shottsford House was built  as Phoenix House to replace the Beeches care home by Dorset Council at a cost of £3 million but closed in 2014, less than two years after its opening, and was then disposed of when its services were found to be no longer needed.

It was sold to Partnerships in Care and run as a nursing home, and in 2018 became home to the Priory Hospital which, after operating for only just over a year as a service registered to provide personal care with accommodation for up to 10 adults managed by Partnerships in Care, closed in 2019 after concerns were raised by neighbours into how it was being managed. A CQC inspection in May of that year found it required improvement and a period in special measures failed to overcome the difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified staff for patients requiring high levels of round-the-clock care.

A formal submission of the plans for the premises is expected in the near future.