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‘It’s a minefield’: Why I want to offer dental services next to my pharmacy

Pharmacist Mohamed Fayyaz Haji has plans to offer dental and phlebotomy services in consultation rooms next door to his pharmacy, he told C+D.  

After 21 years of working at Belfairs Pharmacy in Leigh-on-Sea, pharmacy owner and superintendent Mohamed Fayyaz Haji - known as Fizz - decided he wanted to use his extra consultation rooms to address his community’s needs. 

“I bought the premises next door to my pharmacy” and “finished renovating it last year”, he told C+D today (March 15).

“My aim was to do phlebotomy and dermatology, all that kind of thing where the NHS [is] struggling” – “it's a minefield out there”, he added.

He told C+D that he spoke to his Southend West MP Anna Firth “in passing” about the lack of NHS dentists in his area and suggested that he could get the space “ready for dentistry and…get [a] clinic opened”.

Mr Haji, who has applied for Care Quality Commission (CQC) building registration, said that of his “five big clinical rooms” he hopes to use some for blood tests and “one or two rooms for dentistry”.

Earlier this month (March 5), Ms Firth spoke about the “brilliant local pharmacist” in parliament.

“Premises and dentists have been lined up, but we need the integrated care board (ICB) to commission the service” she said, asking pharmacy minister Andrea Leadsom to meet Mr Haji and “unlock that vital service as soon as possible”.

Mr Haji added that he is planning to meet with MPs in the coming months and have further talks with his ICB “in the next few weeks”.


“There’s a need”


Since then, Mr Haji told C+D that he’s had “hundreds” of calls from patients asking to be registered for dental services. 

He added that he also has “patients who are waiting for three [or] four weeks for blood tests…all urgent ones”.

“There's a need for all these things,” he said, adding that “it doesn't have to be massive contract, just for the community that live here”.

Mr Haji told C+D that “most” of his patients are aged “over 70” and “most of them haven't got people to look after them”.

“We still get phone calls for repeat [prescriptions] - trying to download the NHS App is very difficult for them” and “sometimes I'm doing that on top of all the other bits”, he said.

Meanwhile, former secretary of state Priti Patel this week suggested that pharmacies “utilise their own buildings” to offer a social prescribing service.  

But earlier this month, the C+D Salary Survey revealed that contractors are in crisis mode due to the “unbearable” pressure on the sector.

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