Watching community pharmacy going through a grieving process is interesting, but it has to end sometime.
Disbelief happened in December when the letter from NHS England was first received. Although we knew that relationships between the PSNC and NHS England were broken, we did not believe that they would send such a letter. It is all too easy to ignore that this letter was written, the change in core contract was always going to happen.
Some people became angry. How could NHS England think this? How can NHS England not see the value in community pharmacy. There was an understandable expression of anger including a court case that must have cost more than £1m, a PWC report that must have cost £300k. Not to mention A love my pharmacy campaign raising over 2 million signature that must of cost a small fortune.
I am not sure that the bargaining stage has really started. I haven’t seen the olive branch offered and an alternative plan put forward. Pharmacy Voice did produce a Community Pharmacy Forward View, but the response was to remove funding and halt this approach. No one has looked back at the various white papers and associated documents and said ‘sorry’ you wanted us to change, but we said no.
Some pharmacies have gone straight to depression – they are feeling sorry and regret mixed with a lot of fear and uncertainty. There are many waiting for the value of their investment to tumble, their profits to fall and perhaps their business to become unsustainable. They realise that they have to do something – but it is too difficult while they are delivering all those free services and trying to earn another penny on a packet of pills.
However, some are coming through it, moving into a stage of emotional detachment and objectivity. They have an understanding that cutting overheads to the bone will not give the continued stability to the profitability of a business. They need revenue and they have to create it now. They need to think differently about high value customers and how they can create a range of services and products to better fulfill their healthcare needs. They may have to look for new groups of customers and reach out to people in all walks of life through marketing.
Connect2Pharma offer exactly that, by developing new innovative services from the ground up. Their services are wrapped up into parcels of care, which includes everything that you need to implement and develop a new service – marketing materials, training and links to distributers and manufacturers. This parcel of care concept was a runner up in the C and D awards.
But please don’t think that this is all you have to do. You do have to market the service, find new customers and link services and sales to maximise the opportunity.
Don’t take my word for it though visit their site and explore their services. They include: Strep A sore throat test and treat service, Coeliac disease testing, PSA screening, Strep B testing, Heart Check, Sexual health testing, Detection of early diabetic foot disease testing and many more to come each month