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Avicenna chief: A lot of contractors are refinancing

Salim Jetha
"We really need to get a picture of what's going on"

"A lot" of Avicenna pharmacies have been forced to refinance in the wake of the ongoing funding cuts, CEO Salim Jetha has said.

Members of the independent pharmacy group have been “really hit hard” by the cuts in the last few months, Mr Jetha told C+D at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham earlier this month (October 8).

Contractors have also been affected by the uncertainty surrounding implementing the EU's Falsified Medicines Directive, medicines shortages and Brexit, he said. 

Mr Jetha made the comments to C+D two weeks before the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee announced that England’s pharmacies will not receive any funding increase for 2018-19.

Mr Jetha will be “very interested” to see what C+D’s Salary Survey reveals about stress levels in the sector, he added.

“We really need to get a picture of what's going on,” he said.

Watch Mr Jetha explain the pressures contractors are under:

Have your say on how UK pharmacy is faring in 2018 by completing the C+D Salary Survey.

Are you considering refinancing?

R A, Community pharmacist

At the end of the day, an easier way out of this mess is for all the independent to form a co-operative. 

To become a member of this co-operative each individual contractor pays a membership fee annually. Using the fees generated the co-operative can establish regional automated hubs which individual contractors can use to get the bulk of their dispensing done. 

The membership fee would be dependent on the volume of dispensing required and a contract is signed so that the patients belong to the contractor's pharmacy. The contractor can then reduce the overheads of his pharmacy by reducing staff numbers and focus on areas which warrant the need for a pharmacist i.e. PGD, sales of P meds, MURs and vaccination service. It would lead to a significant reduction in the cost of operating a pharmacy. 

If these co-operatives are formed it could allow contractors to negotiate better terms or reduce profit averse activities like free delivery and MDS box. In most businesses, this form of mutual cooperation would be the norm but pharmacy as ever remains a fragmented group. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's an interesting idea. I've got another one: A communal dispensing hub and online functionality for independents. That's the direction the big boys are all going in, and even those we thought were dead like Co-op are going, and once they succeed in implementing it successfully into community, independent is going to have a hard time keeping up.

S Morein, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Were those refinancing the same contractors who went on the super luxury "conference" to exotic climes? Times are indeed hard in business class travel.

Dave Downham, Manager

Unfortunately, I have to totally agree with you on this one!

Come on please. Story from 2 weeks ago. Stringing things out for half-term?

If it wasn't worth printing 8 Oct why is it now?

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

To spice up the negative sentiment associated with the remuneration settlement 18-19.

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