Layer 1

Keith Ridge: I'm not sure I’m welcome in community pharmacies

Keith Ridge: There's no getting away from the financial constraints we find ourselves in
Keith Ridge: There's no getting away from the financial constraints we find ourselves in

England’s chief pharmaceutical officer has admitted he has visited “less” community pharmacies recently as he is “not sure I’m welcome”.

Answering questions from delegates at the chief pharmaceutical officer's conference in London yesterday (March 15), Keith Ridge made the admission while discussing how the government is “trying to support community pharmacy as best we can”.

While telling the audience that he has “no doubt” that “many [pharmacy] staff” want to engage with “medicines optimisation and many other things [related to] patient safety“, Dr Ridge admitted that he has “visited less [pharmacies] recently” because he is “not sure I’m welcome”.

Answering a question from contractor Tony Schofield on how the sector could innovate, Dr Ridge said: “If community pharmacy owners want to use their staff as effectively as I want you to use your staff, then they need to properly bring that to the table right now, in a way which recognises where the NHS is and what it requires.”

There needs to be “more of a groundswell” from contractors, said Dr Ridge, who also stressed there's no “getting away” from “the financial constraints that we find ourselves in”.

“We are trying to support community pharmacy as best we can – for example, the development around clinical skills,” he added.

C+D reported earlier this year that Dr Ridge’s deputy, Bruce Warner, visited pharmacies in York and Bristol in January.

Will you invite Keith Ridge to your pharmacy?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

“If community pharmacy owners want to use their staff as effectively as I want you to use your staff, then they need to properly bring that to the table right now, in a way which recognises where the NHS is and what it requires.” I think he possibly sees pharmacy staff converting to restaurant waiters and waitresses. I think that must be him explaining NHS England policy for Community Pharmacy or at least his understanding of it!

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Will visiting fewer pharmacies make him understand community pharmacy better? Will avoiding us help him see how pharmacists contribute to their local community? How we are trying our best in the face of severe cuts and various other challenges?

This is the main issue in pharmacy- the individuals in positions of power that represent us lack any understanding of community pharmacy. They all have their own agenda which is separate from grassroot pharmacists.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist

Dear Keith Ridge,

I understand that you are the chief pharmaceutical officer for the UK. Could you please tell us what you have done, beacause not only are UK pharmacists disillusioned, but patients are now suffering as well.

I have still to meet a young pharmacist who knows you by name, let alone who knows about anything you've achieved for the profession.

I'm sure you live comfortably in the home counties, what a fantastic life that may be.

But you have failed miserably in your role, and now both pharmacists and patients are suffering because of this.

* both pharmacists and patients are much worse off.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

One consensus from the profession over the years has been that Pharmacy leadership, typified by Dr Ridge ( he is a Dr), are out of touch. 

Look at the Technician Supervision disaster. This sums up Keith Ridge. Men like him *** use the outdated irrelevant information fed to them and make decisions where the real professionals say "was this meant for us or the rubbish collection teams of district councils".

He is right,  he should stay far away from community Pharmacy. He has never been there anyway.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist

It's not just Keith Ridge who is out of touch. How many of the people who have their hand on the tiller actually have any experience of community pharmacy in the UK? None, of course.

Too many people in suits, getting paid mega bucks to have a luxury lunch in London every day, are deciding the fate of hard working and intelligent pharmacists across the UK.

Heaven forbid that the regulator may come down on you for voicing your personal opinion about how corrupt this industry is. You are entitled to your opinion, and I would respectfully ask that every UK pharmacist do some research and think about who is scratching who's back.

You do not need to be a genius to figure out that some issues are wiped under the carpet, whilst some issues are reported on over and over and over again. How many articles did we have about that Which? report? 8? 9? How many did we have about the Boots pharmacist involved in a fatal dispensing error? ZERO!

BOOM! Let's figure out who is paying whom, please.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Saj Raja, Primary care pharmacist

Ridge is a West Ham supporter, no need to say anything else!

Dave Downham, Manager

Is he one of the supporters who think that senior management are badly letting down a respected institution and seem hell bent on them getting relegated from the top table of professionals?

amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist

He is saying what the sycophants want to hear. When did he last speak to a community pharmacist?

Rhetorical question.

When did he last do something to benefit the profession?

Unfortunately that is also rhetorical.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

max falconer, Superintendent Pharmacist

I'm in shock. I didn't think he even knew we existed????

amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist

He probably still doesn't. Doubt he even ties his own shoelaces in the morning.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

No thanks! 



Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

The man doesn't live in the real world!!Cloud cuckoo land methinks?

Let him work for a day in a busy pharmacy with minimal staffing to see really does go on--I would be very surprised if he had the balls to do it .


amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist

He would never do that.

He will keep taking funding from us because nobody ever kicks up a stink. Good for him, his family, and his expensive patio furniture.

But what are UK pharmacists supposed to do? Keep earning a massive amount of profit for the company bosses, so that the CEOs can buy their next bottle of 1969 Chateaux-Petrus and a Degas for the wall in their yacht?

Biggest scandal in modern times, money being funneled from sick people to pay for one of the world's biggest art collections and a cuban cigar for the guy who sits atop a £500 million boat which we have paid for. And he is not even a pharmacist.

Who ever thought than anyone could ever become so greedy?

How High?, Community pharmacist

Perhaps he could start by seeing that we don't even have time to do the basics. Clinical Governance? Hahahahaha! He could do a day or two at any pharmacy and then he might join the call to force the GPhC to start setting some realistic staffing levels. He could perhaps even try and process an EPS R2 script, reconcile it with the green one the GP did straight after coz he forgot, the extra CD one at the surgery and then find some some Teva, Actavis, Mypharm, Bristol or whatever the hell this particular patient can "only take". I'm sick to my back teeth of running around like an idiot while besuited berks like this avoid us in case we hurt their feelings. FFS grow a pair and get stuck in like we have to.



CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

I feel you my Man. Couldnt have said it better

Andrew Paxton, Community pharmacist

I'd love to see him, because I'd tell him what pharmacies are for, not for saving the NHS money, but to look after patients

amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist


Pharmacies in the UK exist solely to enrich people who live on billion pound yachts in Monaco, and the shareholders who are making money from people being sick. UK pharmacies are now businesses, they are NOT here to help patients.

The people at the top earn more money in a month than you or I need to survive for 10 years. Where is the money coming from?

Figure it out for yourselves.


John Cleese, Production & Technical

Why can't you have a business that makes profit while also helping patients? Have you never helped a patient? Better report yourself to the GPhC then.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

If you think pharmacies were EVER anything OTHER than business, you show just how out of touch with reality you are - pharmacies have ALWAYS been businesses (in the same way GP practices & dental prctices are businesses) and, as businesses, their purpose is to MAKE PROFIT! Now, I know this is shocking to some of you who don't believe we should dirty our hands with such an idea but, in the end, we ALL work for profit - you wages are PROFIT to you (unlesss, of course, you work in one of the hundreds of volunteer-staffed pharmacies, where you do it out of professional self-sacrifice and the goodness of your heart).

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

As a contractor I would like to be involved in medcines optermisation and patient saftey, but no one wants me to be involved. I could upskil myself as much as I want, but there is no paid work to do. I can't bring anything to the table as I can't get away from the shop.


Also tell us how many pharmacies you have visited officialy and how many of those are outside of London. Nat the chances of getting him past watford gap are nil never mind as far north as Cockermouth.

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist

Just making it clear that I'm not saying we're the best pharmacy in the country!

 He is following instruction and in my opinion is as much a politician as a pharmacist.  Even if community pharmacy was badly underperforming, you would expect the chief pharmacist to offer support and guidance.  Not seen much of either to be honest.  

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

To be the best in the country, first you have to be best in the county :)

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist

We'll try to be the best in town then!

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

Know thine enemy!

amardeep bindra, Community pharmacist

It's a bit like an old, well-known European nasty guy visiting a Syangogue.

I love all this talk about pharmacists stepping up and helping out the NHS by taking some of the GP's workload. I wonder what MPs would say if they were told that they would be required to do extra work for the same money? Of course we all know what they would say!

I have nothing against taking workload from doctors, but why do we never seem to take the pay aswell? We have mortgages just like they do!

We have too many chiefs taking all the gold for themselves, and not enough indians. When will people realise this? Patients are going to die because of this pathetically inadequate situation where all the money goes to people behind desks who don't have anything to do with patients.

Pharmacy is controlled by people who don't have a clue what goes on in a real pharmacy. If a patient dies from a dispensing error, we should NOT be blaming the pharmacist, but the super-high pressure workplace environment which has evolved because nobody in charge wants to get involved and risk losing their job, and everybody wants to get rich quick.

If certain people in high-salary roles actually tackled the issue of workplace pressure, under-staffing of branches, and the intimidation of pharmacists by non-pharmacists to meet business targets, then we would see a massive benefeit for patients.

So why is this not happening? Read previous comments and figure out for yourself. Some people are in bed with each other and nothing will change because they value their monthly pay and pension contributions more than they care about patients and pharmacists. We have greedy, self-serving, inconsiderate, selfish, disgusting business people at the helm of UK pharmacy. Jump out before you are pushed, but take your wallet with you to the depths otherwise they will be all over it like a rash, because they sure do love money.

We have been destroyed from the inside-out by money-grabbing selfish parasites who have no place in the healthcare environment.


Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I would love Dr Ridge to come to my pharmacy - then I could tell him his medicine is unavailable due to shortages and I am unable to obtain it at the prices paid by HMGov and, after all, why should I trouble myself for the one person who has spent the last 2-3 years telling us we are, basically, crap at our job and a waste of tax payers money! Alterntively, I could leave him to my assistants who haven't had a decent pay rise in a couple of years due to the funding cuts he has overseen - I reckon 5 minutes alone with them in the consultation room should do it.*

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

He hasn't got the (little round objects)!!

martin gibson, Locum pharmacist

Well said, Adam!  If what you said wasn't actually true, it would be hilarious!  Let us know if he comes ..... you could sell tickets to the consultation room fracas! 




John Cleese, Production & Technical

That's the spirit, chaps. Professional responses as always. Onwards and upwards, eh!


Job of the week

Relief Pharmacist or store based Pharmacist
Mid Wales - Powys (Builth and Lland
Competitive Salary + Location Supplement and Benefits