Elderly residents have raised concerns over proposals for Dundee’s first 24/7 pharmacy.
Dundee City Council’s planning committee will be asked to consider the application from Mark Aggleton, Glasgow.
However, the prospect of patients being able to collect medication any time day or night has raised questions among locals.
Anna Stewart, who lives nearby, plans to send in her formal objection to the proposal, citing concerns over crime, noise and pollution.
She said: “I have had sleepless nights worrying about this since I learned about it.
“I am really concerned about what will happen if this is allowed to go ahead.
“Coldside already has a problem with high numbers of drug users and the risk of a potential rise in crime is of concern to many elderly local residents.
“I already have problems with people parking across my drive and as I live almost next door to this pharmacy I’m concerned that will be an added problem.
“This is also close to sheltered housing. This will be of no benefit to these elderly residents yet they will have to bear the brunt of the detrimental effects of this development.”
Agents for Mr Aggleton have said the steel-encased Pharmaself24 is a self-contained, secure, vandal-resistant machine which would fit securely into the existing building.
A collection flap will automatically lock when patients are not collecting prescriptions and the machines have a capacity of up to 180 dispensing bags.
Patients can collect prescriptions at any time of the day or night, without the need for the pharmacy to be open.
Dundee Pensioners Forum has also expressed concern over the proposals.
Dorothy McHugh, secretary, said: “The march of technological progress seems unstoppable. Now we will collect our medicines through a hole in the wall – just as we get our money from the bank.
“Little thought appears to have been given to the impact on the local community. The pharmacy applicant cites a reduction in carbon emissions because of fewer home deliveries. Probably – but the carbon emissions will just be concentrated around Alpin Road with cars arriving day and night. Hardly of benefit to the sheltered tenants in this residential area.”
“If we really need a 24×7 dispensary, surely it would be better cited in one of Dundee’s retail parks where there is ample parking and minimal impact on residential communities?”
Mr Aggleton was keen to assuage locals’ concerns.
He said: “Whilst the purpose of the machine is to allow anytime access to dispensed medicines, the data from the manufacturer doesn’t suggest this is likely to be the case.
“There are over 400 Pharmaself24 units installed across the UK and Netherlands and the data shows that 80% of collections happen during the pharmacy’s opening hours.
“Customers love the convenience of not having to queue – which is particularly important in the current pandemic situation – and so they still come during the day as per their usual routine, but with the new robot, they can collect without having to queue.
“Of course there is benefit for those who commute or do shift work and they can collect when it is convenient for them but the vast majority of people will collect as per their usual time.
“This technology will allow people to collect their prescriptions without entering the shop premises.
“They will receive a text message to notify them that it is ready for collection. As well as the convenience for some customers, this will free up additional time for pharmacy staff to dedicate to other services in store – such as the new Pharmacy First initiative.
“This initiative allows the pharmacist to prescribe a range of medications and treatment for minor ailments. This machine will not replace staff but is an investment in the future of the community.”