Opinion: Birstall Chamber of Trade president Anne Thompson

Birstall Chamber of Trade president Anne Thompson.
Birstall Chamber of Trade president Anne Thompson.

On April 1, I read a front page article about the NHS selling personal data. Given the date, I assumed it was some sort of April Fools headline, albeit in pretty bad taste. Unfortunately it wasn’t.

If you have a repeat prescription as I do, then you can nominate a pharmacy to dispense and deliver your medication. It’s a simple process to either ring the pharmacy or order online. However, an online company called Pharmacy 2U has been accused of selling patients’ information to a marketing company.

Now don’t get me wrong, millions of us use the internet for all sorts of reasons, and I’m certainly no exception, but what’s between me, my GP and my pharmacist should be exactly that.

We all know that the NHS is struggling to cope, and there’s been talk of pharmacists developing closer links with GPs to ease pressure on appointments. This seems like a good idea.

How this can be achieved is another matter. There are far fewer pharmacies today than there were a few years ago, and the big chains will often restructure unprofitable outlets – look at what’s happening in Batley. It’s likely, therefore, that the smaller independents will have to bridge the gap, but will struggle themselves if their own profitability falls to an unsustainable level.

But it’s not just the threat to the high street, important as that is. It’s the seemingly relentless march towards everyone knowing everything about us that worries me, and using that information in a way which is clearly wrong.

The quiz night on March 29 was a great success. A last minute surge in ticket sales left us desperately searching for enough tables and chairs to accommodate everyone.

These events are always a team effort and I’d like to thank the events committee for all their hard work.

Particular thanks go to Jill at Fashion Workroom who made a very impressive Head Boy, Pat at High Ridings whose Head Girl gym slip and boater drew a few admiring glances, Nicola at Bishops for the lovely buffet supper, our wonderful hosts David and Pam at the Oakwell Motel, and, last but not least, everyone who came along.

We raised £343 and, in keeping with our pledge to support Birstall this year, we are giving £200 to the Birstall Pre School after its break-in.