The two applications made to open a pharmacy in Scalloway should be assessed at the same time and not one after the other, according to isles MSP Tavish Scott.
Under current rules the plans put forward by private firm Norsepharm for new shop premises in the village will be heard by NHS Shetland before those of the Scalloway GPs’ practice, which claims it will not be able to continue to function if the rival bid is successful.
Mr Scott said the Scottish government had told him there was no legal requirement for the applications to be heard in the order they were submitted, although NHS Shetland said it coulc be open to legal action if it did not act in this fashion.
Mr Scott has written again to health minister Shona Robison and asking her to provide reassurance to NHS Shetland that it can consider the applications together.
Mr Scott said: “It is very much in the interest of the Scalloway community for both applications to be considered before a choice is made. I want NHS Shetland to decide which is the best chemist for local people, and to take this decision without the threat of legal action.
“It would seem to be crazy to accept the first application, without investigating whether the second one would be better. And it would be equally unwise to reject the first, in the hope that the second was better, only to find out that it isn’t. That is why NHS Shetland must be allowed to consider the applications together and why I want the government to help in avoiding the risk of a credible judicial challenge. This is a big decision for Scalloway and I want to ensure that our local health board can take all factors into account. That means considering both applications to run a chemist in Scalloway at the same time.”