PHARMACISTS say they will lose business and may even be forced to close when Boots opens at East Surrey Hospital.
The new shop is part of a multi-million-pound revamp of the Earlswood hospital site which includes redesigning the main entrance and opening a Costa coffee shop and WHSmith.
But pharmacists in towns and villages across East Surrey are worried they will lose out. They say the move could put the vital community services they provide at risk.
Pharmacist Hussein Esmail, of Jubichem on Shelvers Hill, Tadworth, said: "There is so much pressure on pharmacies at the moment. Local pharmacies could go the way of the independent butchers or greengrocers.
"But without a local pharmacy, what happens to the elderly, or the nursing mothers? When the glue of local businesses starts eroding, the effect on footfall and the community can be serious.
"Perhaps the hospital and the council will say this is what people want. They talk about supporting out-of-town shopping but who is looking after the rural areas?
"It's going to cause us problems. It's the ripple effect. We have pharmacies opening in supermarkets and now in the hospital. Businesses may not survive."
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