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Avicenna CEO: Some pharmacists were unaware of funding cuts

Salim Jetha (centre): Some pharmacies could disappear quicker than expected
Salim Jetha (centre): Some pharmacies could disappear quicker than expected

Avicenna had “so many” phone calls from pharmacists in England who were taken aback by the drop in NHS payments following the funding cut, CEO Salim Jetha has said.

Some contractors got in touch with the buying group in January and February to ask why they had not received their monthly NHS payment, Mr Jetha told his company’s annual conference in Wales last Sunday (April 30).

Mr Jetha was responding to a question from Tim Harrington, head of commercial development at Day Lewis, on whether anyone had been surprised when the cuts came into effect in December 2016.

One audience member replied that he had been “surprised at the level of the cut, because I was expecting 12%, but what I got was 20%”.

Independents “lag behind” multiples

In an exclusive interview with C+D later that day, Mr Jetha said the reality of the funding cuts “hasn’t quite sunk in” for some independent contractors, while others “are hoping things will change”.

Independents can be “very poor” in projecting their finances and “tend to lag behind in terms of financial management” in comparison with the multiples, he said.

This was the reason the conference included a session with Avicenna’s chief financial officer Ash Mehta (pictured below) on forecasting the cash flow of a pharmacy.

In addition, Avicenna is introducing webinar training in cash flow management within the next “three to four months” to educate pharmacists in handling their finances, Mr Jetha said.

He stressed it is important for contractors to understand the "viability of [their] business".

"Some [pharmacies] could disappear quicker than expected," Mr Jetha added.

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