Results and recommendations following our survey regarding pharmacy closures in local areas and their impact on local residents.

Access to primary care

In light of the directive from the Surrey Health and Wellbeing Board meeting in March 2024, requesting that the Surrey Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) be re-opened, we set out to build an accurate picture of the level and nature of the impact which the closure of the Boots in Thames Ditton was having / will have on the local population.

We asked people their views via a survet and through 2 engagment events.

Our findings were:

  • Residents value the service and clinical expertise which their local pharmacy can provide, but many don’t feel able to travel to get this.
  • Travel distance from home is the most important factor for people when visiting a pharmacy, but this is more complex than a crude mileage value – people need to be able to walk or have reliable / accessible / affordable public transport options.
  • The closure of Boots in Thames Ditton has left many people without a pharmacy in walking distance. This has had a significant impact on local residents, but it has particularly affected people who are less mobile and need regular medication (many of whom are elderly), those with young children and those with financial concerns.
  • Many of those affected are not online, and therefore their voices may not be heard as part of the insights gathering being undertaken by the PNA steering committee.

Our recommendations to the Surrey PNA steering group are:

  1. When evaluating existing / changes to pharmacy provision, the real impact on local residents – based on what they are saying, not a generic distance metric – should be considered.
  2. How easily residents can walk / get public transport to a pharmacy, and specific local needs in this regard, should help to determine what is considered as “acceptable”.
  3. Local residents should be kept informed about changes to pharmacy provision in their area, including alternatives in light of planned closures. This recommendation reflects that of Healthwatch England at a national level.
  4. A range of opportunities to for people to share their views should be offered to residents across Surrey, including non digital methods.

Further background and details of our findings can be found in our report below.


We also undertook the same survey in Cranleigh and Burpham/Merrow. Details of these results can be found in our What we’re hearing about pharmacy provision in Guildford and Waverley report.

We have also created a one page summary.

What we’re hearing about pharmacy provision in Thames Ditton (pdf) Download File (pdf 387.59 KB)
What we’re hearing about pharmacy provision in Thames Ditton (pdf) Download File (vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document 1.00 MB)

“As I don’t drive and the bus services are infrequent in my area, I have to go out of my way and make special journeys into Esher to get medication and / or seek medical advice. I have to walk and it takes me 30-40 minutes each way which can be problematic as I have an arthritic knee. I need ready and regular access to a pharmacy for both myself and my husband, who has many medical issues, so the closure of this local pharmacy is having a bad impact on us.”