I was sitting at the C and D Summit listening to a pharmacist talking about removing nappies from the pharmacy and had to say that I thought it was a mistake. I appreciate that most mums buy their nappies elsewhere and it might make the place look untidy, but that is not the point.
I can remember a pharmacist mentor telling me ‘all the mums around here come to me’ and it seemed to be true. We had an endless stream of pregnant ladies, prams and pushchairs. The endless discussions around reflux, posture, sleeping and bending. Talking about moisturisers, exercise and stretch marks. Rashes (bottom and skin), teething and weaning and, for a young pharmacist in training, the dilemma of cracked or sore nipples. Discussions about immunisation were endless. And the arrangement with the local GP for folic acid prescriptions and the emollients. I learnt how to change nappies and how to deal with eczema.
I don’t know why he didn’t serve coffee – and then he did – well in association with the little cafe two shops down the road and for half an hour every Thursday we packed the place out.. All in all we had a right good time. ‘How’s your mum now’ was a frequent question, followed by the usual, ‘I remember you when you were that age’
This was the glory days of community pharmacy when we didn’t sell many nappies, but we offered a whole lot more.
I still remember all this, and offer my wisdom and experience to a few. Most of the mums fold up their prams and take two busses to the hospital to talk to a midwife. Or they can get a domiciliary visit from the three midwives the PCT employed.
Well that’s the modern day NHS – breaks up my local community, makes mums with babies travel miles, pay huge sums of money for a service I provided free of charge. And soon all the knowledge and mentors will be gone.