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'Why I'm offering a sore throat service to survive the cuts'

C+D spoke to Raj Radia at Spring Pharmacy in Hackney, London

An independent pharmacist is offering a wider range of services in an effort to survive the impact of the funding cuts.

Pharmacist Raj Radia, who owns Spring Pharmacy in Hackney, east London, is taking steps to boost its income by getting “one step ahead” of GPs and offering a patient-funded sore throat test service.

The pharmacy began offering the sore throat service in mid-November, two weeks before the funding cuts came into force in England. Under the scheme, patients pay £9.50 for the swab test and a further £15 for treatment.

Pharmacy sore throat services made headlines last month when NHS England announced it was backing a ‘test and treat’ service  – first piloted by Boots in 2014 – to relieve pressure on the NHS, free-up GP appointments and tackle antibiotic resistance.

At the time, 70% of pharmacists said they would offer a similar service if it had appropriate financial support.

Mr Radia told C+D that despite offering a travel clinic and free diabetes checks, his pharmacy still receives 90% of its income from dispensing.

Offering the swab tests is part of his attempt to move the pharmacy’s business model further towards services, Mr Radia explained earlier this month (January 13).

Mr Radia is also in the process of getting Spring Pharmacy accredited as a healthy living pharmacy – ensuring it will secure 20 points under the new quality payments scheme.

“They're chopping our legs off”

Mr Radia warned he may be forced to consider scrapping the pharmacy's free prescription delivery service, because of the “detrimental” effects of the funding cuts.  

“On the one hand, the Department of Health is telling you to use your community pharmacy effectively," he added. “But on the other hand, they're chopping our legs off.”

“I don't know where I'm going to be financially in the coming years."

How are the cuts affecting your pharmacy? And what are you doing to survive? Share your stories by emailing us at this address.

How will the cuts affect your pharmacy's service offering?

Frustrated Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Go on then, have you had many takers? My lot wouldn't pay 32p for a pack of paracetamol when they can get it on FP10 for nowt. Good luck!

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

That is the most important question.also if the result is negative will the customer be pleased to have paid for a negative test. Perhaps the c and d will contact him for the figures ? Will he have used the pack up before the expiry date ?

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

“They're chopping our legs off”

Community pharmacy has been doing a pretty good job of this themselves for as long as I can remember - free deliveries, free blister packs, etc.

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Excellent. How is he getting on? How many patients have "coughed up" since he started 10 weeks ago?

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