The JFK quote “ask not what your country can do for you…..” is running around my head while I am thinking about community pharmacy and the difficulties that it faces in the future.
And so my fellow pharmacists – ask not what your NHS can do for you – ask what you can do for your patients. It sounds pretty good – a rallying cry – but what do I mean?
For too long people have entered a pharmacy and asked for something. They have wanted to buy something, had some symptoms and explained this to the pharmacy. It is ‘responding to symptoms’. I just don’t think that we do this particularly well. I am not convinced that community pharmacy teams have enough specific product knowledge and that we have the consultation right – should we WWHAM, ASMETHOD, SITDOWN SIR or ENCORE.
What I am sure about is that ‘responding to symptoms’ is just not enough.
Today we need to develop a new approach – proactive community clinical pharmacy practice. It is about finding specific customers, engaging with them and offering them a service. There are loads of things that the NHS doesn’t do well which mean that there are loads of people who would appreciate some advice and guidance. Many of them would be happy to buy things from their pharmacy if there was a reasonable evidence base, some value and some benefit to them.
And you never know – once you provide a service, perhaps the NHS or the LA will actually buy it from you.
So go on don’t always ask what the NHS can do for you – start thinking what you can do for your patients. It may be your defining moment.