Layer 1

Forget NHS budgets and source other income, Numark conference told

Business Pharmacists must stop focusing on squeezed NHS budgets and instead make more of available funding streams such as payment for MURs and NMS, Numark delegates heard this week.

Pharmacists must stop focusing on squeezed NHS budgets and instead make more of available funding streams, Numark conference delegates heard this week (April 21).

Local organisations had funding for training and pharmacists should work with other healthcare professionals to maximise their income from available sources such as money for MURs and the NMS, speakers at the conference in Hanoi, Vietnam argued.

Newham GP Petre Jones disagreed with a Numark delegate that there was no money for local service development. "There are income streams but you have to think about it. Let's identify these income pockets and work with what we've got."

Pharmacists were told to maximise their income from available sources such as funding for MURs and the NMS

More on pharmacy finance

Small pharmacy businesses set to suffer from       chancellor's budget

Two pharmacy companies go into administration

Category M Barometer

The delegates in the room who reached their maximum MUR quota numbered single figures and none were doing their maximum number of NMS interventions, Dr Jones found.

Only three had carried out a hospital discharge NMS intervention, despite the hundreds of patients who could benefit from this service and the fact that there was already money set aside for it, NHS Lambeth clinical lead Ash Soni added.

Mr Soni identified new local education and training boards (LETBs) as a source of funding for pharmacy team development.

"LETBs are really interested in investing training money in pharmacy, but not just in pharmacists – they see a real opportunity for investing in staff" Mr Soni said.

Have you maximised your MUR and NMS income and have you been successful at attracting income from other sources?

Comment below or email us at [email protected] You can also find C+D on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook


Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are a service profession and our customers expect/demand a good service - and that means getting their prescription on time/when they want them. New services are great but pharmacy is an old dog having to learn a lot of new tricks in a very short space of time. I think the suggestion that the conference is saying concentrate on NMS & MURs is a misconception. I am sure what they mean is "DO you 400 MURs/as many NMS as you can" (i.e. maximise the income from them) AND look for other income streams. One issue pharmacy is always going to come up against with new services (eg NS Health Checks) is we are begining from a standing start while existing providers (eg GPs) already have systems in place. Also, start-up costs mean you need to be able to maximise these services from a very early stage. To me, this looks like we (ie pharmacists/pharmacy owners) need to rethink our operating model to make these opportunties possible for us.
By the way, and as a niave manager, not an owner, if the average pharmacy is underfunded by £50000, how is it still in business?

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

a large percentage of the underfunding is being picked up by pharmacist managers,locums and other staff who are not getting paid what they should be- ie no or negligible pay increases, or even pay cuts over the last 6 years or so. also, pharmacy owners are not investing in refits and general property upkeep. They are also cutting back on their own pay, pension contributions, etc.

Pillman Uk, Community pharmacist

underfunded to previous levels by £50k perhaps?

sanjai sankar, Locum pharmacist

And of course as a result of "Conference suggestions" such as these what will be the inevitable consequences...? More pressure on employee Pharmacists and Locums to hit MUR "targets", bullying of Locums to perform as many "services" as possible regardless of sufficient staffing levels to cope, the cutting of corners to hit targets and a general feeling of malaise within the profession...Its quite clear this is happening already and will probably get worse....If patients do not need or want an MUR or NMS that should be the end of the matter....Our traditional roles of dispensing and giving OTC counselling is and always will be our most important duties in the Public's eyes...I am all for promoting services of good quality but this can only be achieved with good staffing levels....Sadly,In my experience as a Locum this is not always the case particularly with some of the larger multiples....

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

The main point is that the country and NHS are broke and there is nothing to suggest things will get better any time soon. Pharmacy is singularly disadvantaged unless it is a company or co-operative that have the unique talent of commissioning from the diverse revenue streams and organisation in the new NHS.

It may well be time to get back to basics on delivering core pharmacy services, diversifying into independent services such as travel, flu vaccines and otc medicines sales.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

people still seem to have not got around the NMS maze. It is not there until a medicine is prescribed for the first time (not just a dose or strenght change) Plus, if the medicine was started by the Hospital you cannot do an NMS, all you can do is an MUR (which is within the 400 max target) So, Just because there is a fund earmarked for NMS it does not mean you have an easy access to it like completing 400 MURs. Could some one please educate the GP from Newham the difference between acheiving MUR targets and the NMS targets. I do not how Pharmacies will survive if this kind of a GP is on CCG.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

only someone who has no clue about the finances necessary to operate a community pharmacy could suggest that we make up the shortfall by doing mur's and nms's. the maximum income that could bring in would be approximately £20,000 per annum. the approximate underfunding of the average pharmacy now stands at £50,000 per annum. add that to the fact that it would cost me over £50,000 p.a to employ an extra pharmacist to do these mur's and nms's then it makes no financial sense at all

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

Agree totally with you Chris.

I am aware of a couple of pharmacies that employ locums to free up pharmacist time to perform more MUR's and NMS's. The fees for these services barely cover the locum costs. It makes little financial sense.

Remember also that the NMS is only funded for 5 more months and after that it may well be scrapped.

Job of the week

Accreditation and Recognition Panel member positions
Home Based
On application