ANGRY councillors are calling for answers after plans to open a pharmacy in Colne’s new health centre have been delayed.

Colne’s Liberal Democrat councillors said they have received a raft of complaints from patients after learning the pharmacy which was due to open in May, could be delayed by up to 18 months.

Colne councillor Mary Thomas, a patient champion, said original plans included the co-operative venture of several pharmacists moving over to the new health centre from the old one, shortly after it opened.

However, councillors claim the management of the pharmacy has now been put out to tender.

Coun Thomas, said: “In May they were assured they could transfer the existing business to the new building.

“But by July it seems someone somewhere decided it had to go out to tender and the fear is this could take up to 18 months.

“This is not only ridiculous but it puts at risk some really innovative ideas about enhancing the service provided by local pharmacists, which could provide a better service to patients and also relieve pressure on doctors and nurses.”

Fewer mobile patients, older and disabled visitors and mothers with young children said they have been finding it difficult having to traipse around the town centre to get a prescription dispensed.

Fellow Pendle Coun Tony Greaves, added: “There is a fear that NHS Property Services are just behaving like the worst kind of capitalist landlords and trying to wring every last penny out of their buildings – regardless of the interests of the patients.”

A spokesman for NHS Property Services said: “The building is available and ready for the pharmacy to move in.

“When they move in is just down to discussions between the pharmacy and NHS England.

“We’re trying to secure it in the building as soon as possible.

Chairman of Colne Council’s health scrutiny panel, Coun Ann Kerrigan now plans to raise the matter at the meeting of Pendle Council on August 7.