A Conservative MP has assured the managing director of 77-year-old pharmacy he will convey his cuts fears to Alistair Burt.

Patients and staff at the Dorset pharmacy met with serving Christopher Chope MP to discuss the proposed £170m budget reduction.

Wessex Pharmacies, with branches in Christchurch and Mudeford, has been owned by the same family for 77 years and has served generations of local people.

Managing director Roger Mitchell said: “I’m grateful for Mr Chope taking the time to hear our concerns.

“He assured us that he will reflect these in his response to a letter he had received from the Minister with responsibility for pharmacy, Alastair Burt.”

The meeting drew together patients, who detailed their own experiences of community pharmacy, and John D’Arcy, managing director of Numark, the buying group to which Wessex Pharmacies belongs.

Mitchell said:  “I explained to Mr Chope that we have provided a highly professional, caring and life-saving service to our wonderful patients over many decades.

“Our driver, Tony, makes approximately 35 deliveries a day to patients’ homes.  We know that for some people, Tony is the only face to face contact they have with anyone from one week to another.

“We also dispense prescriptions into monitored dosage trays so our patients can take their medicines without confusion.

“This is a free service which takes us much longer, but we do it to allow our patients to maintain their independence for as long as possible.”