Community Pharmacy – has it lost the plot?

I just reissued a post that I blogged almost two years ago – Community Pharmacy and Child Health. It is true – because community pharmacy gave up offering advice to pregnant women and to new mums, stopped selling nappies and stopped being experts – the need did not go away so PCT did employ midwives.

I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. Perhaps pride goes before a fall. Somehow nappy rash and cracked nipples were ‘beneath us’ – we wanted to be better than that. But what was ever better than interacting with real people and helping them? I have never enjoyed myself more. And last week I heard a community pharmacist refer a lady with cracked nipples to her GP – I hope that this was an isolated incident?

What a shame. We are in a position where midwives are like gold dust and they are were being taken away from the maternity units and being used in a different manner. It is also not to say that the advice that the midwife offers is not good – of course it is, but the community pharmacist should have been giving out this advice in the first place.

There is no point going backwards – don’t ask for the funding that was found to pay the midwives – that has probably gone with the midwives in times of austerity and nurse review.

Ok – we might not have sold many nappies – but we sold a few bits and bobs and built value and loyalty and helped people within our local community.

Pharmacists are in great danger of losing the plot. If the day arrives when community pharmacists look at a person with diabetes and think HbA1c, I will hang my hat up and retire.

Stand back and look at that person – smile and think – mouth care, skin care, foot care, weight control, smoking cessation, reflux, injection technique – and the list goes on. And then say hello my name is…….. how can I help to make your life better?

You will get a few funny looks, but chat and learn from people and they will tell you their problems. A few you might be able to help with, but they will say – ‘that pharmacist was really interested in me’.

Remember – “they don’t care what you know – until they know that you care”


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