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End rivalry with GPs, urge public health leaders

C+D Senate Speakers including lead of the healthy living pharmacy pathfinder work programme Deborah Evans (pictured, left) told C+D Senate that pharmacists were too "hung up" on what GPs thought.

Pharmacists must stop being "hung up" on what GPs are doing and recognise that they are supportive of community pharmacy, C+D Senators have argued.

They told the C+D Senate on public health last week (November 6) that pharmacists were "making a big mistake" if they continued to work in competition, rather than collaboratively, with GPs.

They stressed that GP leaders were becoming increasingly supportive of pharmacy's role and that their mindset would filter down into the general workforce.

"We can make such a difference, so we should stop putting ourselves down," said the lead of the healthy living pharmacy pathfinder work programme Deborah Evans

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Robbie Turner, chief executive of Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire, said most GPs felt "better about community pharmacists than pharmacy does about itself".

He argued that there was no direct competition between the two professions, as GPs should take on acute care and pharmacists were best placed to provide traditional public health services.

In his area, pharmacists had become the "go-to provider" for delivering public health services such as smoking cessation and alcohol screening to a large number of people, Mr Turner told the Senate.

Pharmacy and public health forum chair Richard Parish also urged pharmacists to avoid out-and-out competition with GPs. "What we don't want to destroy is the concept of an integrated, joined-up health system," he stressed.

"We need to look at what outcomes we want in primary care, and how we can differentiate the system by who delivers it best," he said. "I think that will probably result in pharmacy being asked to do more than it is already."

Despite there being some "recalcitrant GPs", Mr Parish said many GP leaders "could not be more supportive" of pharmacy. He named the new Royal College of General Practitioners chair Maureen Baker and National Association of Primary Care chair Charles Alessi as examples.

"They will lead opinion over time, but you can't expect everyone to be in the same place at the same time," argued Mr Parish, who is also a non-executive director for the Public Health England advisory board.

Deborah Evans, lead of the healthy living pharmacy pathfinder work programme, urged pharmacists to stop worrying about GPs and focus on their own strengths. "I hear too many pharmacists moaning about what's happening on the other side of the fence," she said. "We can make such a difference, so we should stop putting ourselves down. I'm fed up of hearing about it, really – where's the evidence that x per cent of GPs think pharmacists are rubbish?"

Do you agree that pharmacists are too hung up on GPs views?

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Leon The Apothecary, Student

I get on really well with most of the doctors I work with, we talk about and how our respective days are going so far. It has taken a little bit of effort on my part as well admittedly, I have arranged a meeting with some of the surgeries to discuss how we can make business run smoother, and it has definitely shown since.

I know from my pharmacy perspective it has given me valuable insight into how the mythical surgery works, and I am certainly vice versa as well. Like with anything, communication is paramount.

michael mustoe, Community pharmacist

Come on. Lets behave like adults and recognise that we are all highly trained healthcare professionals, and start working together harmoniously. Its going to be the only way forward. Arrogance and self interest have no place here


They are looking after number one...!!!

Just like pharmacy contractors who sign patients up from rival local pharmacies...

Good luck to GPs..

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

i hate to admit it but you have a point they is certain type of loicum who thinks that everything is owed to them included rate of 25£/hr im afraid this is buisness just the other days we where looking to here a second pharmacist for a supermarker.....31000 for 40 hour the maths....

And to all those who think its mean....WELL YOU DONT THINK THAT WHEN YOU ARE BUSY SIGNING UP CUSTOMERS AND STEALING REVENUE FROM YOU NEIGHBOURING PHARMACY.....what should we do not signup customers because we feel bad for the othe buisness....



Contractors feel they are owed a living just like some locums..

we live in a democracy....If you don't like he profession, you caneither

1. leave
2. get on with it

I can't stand moaning contractors/locums.....


Dave Rushton @ Paradigm Shift,

How much more fuel can you pour on the fire? ;) Are you part troll, sir? :)


Me thinks Gps looking after their own interests just like pharmacy contractors...

Who can blame them? I promise you we would do the same!!!

What pharmacy contractor would pay £25 per hr when they can get away with £18? £15?
I''m afraid this is business.....and there's not muich one can do!!

I recently had a review by the area team who said if it was up to them, they would close all community pharmacies and give dispensing drs full control

Thats the respect we are shown !!!

William Johnson,

Doctors have been business men for a long time, it's just that in the eighties pharmacists were even better at business. Unfortunately we seem to have lost out since. At one time my company owned a doctor's surgery next to our pharmacy ( I must admit we kept pretty quiet about it.) Now it's happening the other way around.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

Sorry but I had to laugh at this article! The evidence is in nearly EVERY pharmacy, unless, of course, the local GP is your best buddy. They hold all the reigns, and I despise most of the arrogant doctors I come across. My evidence is clear to me. I don't need official statistics. GPs are now business men, and ruthless with it!

Dave Rushton @ Paradigm Shift,

Hi Reeyah,

Practice Managers are frequently the destructive commercial force, but it varies greatly from site to site. Whichever it is, it doesn't help pharmacy when surgeries can provide many nurse-led services that cut out the pharmacist... as many of you are experiencing.

I know some sites are actively taking nurses to try to compete, or offer the GP an opportunity to send work their way at the lower cost.

There is also the perception of many GPs I have spoken with that pharmacists are rich... Mercs and BMWs with personalised plates don't help the perception, and barriers need to be broken down. But where is the time and the access?

Re Ms Evans; "I hear too many pharmacists moaning about what's happening on the other side of the fence," she said." To play Devil's advocate many pharmacists love a good moan, but often with good reason.

Being pushed more and more to breaking point, being overloaded with extra unpaid activities, and then fighting other health professionals who often think that the patients belong to them.

Some of the new breed GPs are more open and willing to talk, but the problem is many of us are fighting over the same piece of turf, and will they want to engage every pharmacist in the area? Likely not.

I do agree with Ms Evans that there is a need for motivation, but without a unified leadership everybody pulls in different directions, for whatever reason/agenda.

Many I speak to are disenfranchised with the leadership as they don't seem to "get" the problems that single shop owners, or coalface pharmacists, encounter, as most aren't in that position anymore.

Try to take a closer look at the likes of the NAPC, chaired by Charles Alessi, as mentioned in the article. If we can interface better with those who see the value of pharmacy, then more opportunities are likely to appear.

Finally, a note of caution to all here: Don’t let all of your bad experiences make you expect more of the same. Just as in "real life," if you let every bad experience become your evidence base, you will only ever expect it and behave accordingly... risk of self-fulfilling prophecy here.

Not all are cut from the same cloth, so do your best to be positive and expectant of better behaviour, despite the worst that you have experienced.

It’s surprising how many end up meeting your expectations... in the end.

Unreturned calls, rude and short responses are often down to pressure and time constraints, and usually (as with any potential sales calls) if you aren't important enough to that person at that moment, they won't reach out.

Persistence pay off, mostly. At least for me :)

Good luck out there everyone.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I don't think GPs simply think 'pharmacists are rubbish'. Many GPs dislike the concept of others profiting from the provision of healthcare particularly at their own expense.

Its all well and good these pharmacy leaders thinking positively but just look at the facts. Since the new pharmacy contract (in 2005) pharmacy service provision has been limited. Our funding has been drastically cut and we have been thrown a few scraps to keep us quiet namely smoking cessation, reducing minor ailment schemes and if your very lucky a limited flu vaccine service.

Why aren't these and other services more widespread? GPs want to keep the services and funding for themselves despite some practices being so over-run its a two-week wait for an appointment.

Sick of these so-called 'pharmacy leaders' ignoring facts and common sense. GPs are absolutely in competetion with us and unfortunately they hold all the cards.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager




Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Stop blaming pharmacists for all ills.
It takes two to tango and GP's can't, won't or don't want to tango.
And I don't blame them. Why should they?
They will do anything as long as it's lucartive.
If there is no money they will not do it.
GP's operate in a closed monopoly market


GP's operate in a closed monopoly market


Ahmed :-), Community pharmacist

Yeah it's all our fault, we need to stop being frustrated with doctors ignoring the services we provide MUR/NMS, we need to embrace receptionists who obstruct our practice with their rude/demeaning manner...and when a doctor opens a pharmacy within 5yards of ours, we should encourage our patients to leave us and be 'directed' to the new GPharmacy...pull the other one love and don't say anything if you've got nothing worthwhile saying...our leaders are beginning to grate...

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I presume this end to rivalry includes the cessation of GPs owing or having any interest, via family members, in their own pharmacy?

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Obviously, I meant "owning"

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

I can't agree more with Stephen here. I really do think that the issue of GP pharmacy ownership really has to be tackled at a much higher level across Britain.

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