Layer 1

‘My pharmacy’s private minor illness clinic is making £8k a month’

Mr Ahmed opened a walk-in minor illness and aesthetics clinic in June 2018
Mr Ahmed opened a walk-in minor illness and aesthetics clinic in June 2018

Eager to put his prescribing skills to use, Faheem Ahmed set up a private minor illness clinic in his Oxford pharmacy and today it brings in an extra £8,000 a month.

Mr Ahmed, director of the two-strong Ahmeys Pharmacy chain in Oxford, opened a private walk-in minor illness clinic in both branches in June 2018. Its flagship branch in Cowley generated an “extra income of between £5,500 and £6,000 a month” in its first year, he told C+D.

This has since risen to around £8,000 per month, thanks to an increased marketing drive on social media, a letter to local GPs encouraging referrals and adverts on the side of local buses, he explained.

As well as minor ailment treatments, the clinics offer private services, including: blood tests; sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment; Botox and liposuction; and a walk-in travel clinic.

For walk-in clinic appointments, patients pay £10 for a consultation with one of Ahmeys’ pharmacist prescribers, which last 10-15 minutes. If medicines are then required, the patient pays for the cost of the prescription.

Some treatments cost more, such as a full blood test and screening for £45, and Botox from £255.

Mr Ahmed has aspirations to expand the clinic’s dermatology services and introduce cervical screening in the pharmacies, he told C+D.

The clinic is attracting an average of 25 patients a day, Mr Ahmed said, and “we're at a stage now where we could possibly increase our consulting fee to about £30, because we've got the clientele”.

Service benefits

Mr Ahmed said the reduced waiting time is part of the clinic's appeal for patients.

“We developed the minor illness clinic because we had patients walk into our pharmacy and say, ‘Look, we can’t see a doctor’,” he said.

In one instance, a patient needed a steroid injection for osteoarthritis, but the NHS waiting list was too long. After receiving the patient’s referral from their GP, Mr Ahmed administered the injection himself.

The treatments offered as part of Ahmeys Pharmacy's service are “affordable, and you’re getting [them] there and then”, he added.

Building confidence to prescribe

The clinic is “in line with the government’s agenda to upskill pharmacists”, said Mr Ahmed, who admits was spurred on to set it up by the lack of opportunity to use his independent prescribing qualification elsewhere.

When he first qualified as an independent prescriber in 2017, Mr Ahmed would ask for patients' consent to discuss their case with a doctor, until he had seen several patients with the same condition and felt confident in treating them.

“I discussed it with the doctors and [decided that], ultimately, as a pharmacist, I’ve got to get to that level where I can deal with minor illnesses,” he explained.

“A year down the line, I'm treating patients on my own and I don't need to call up doctors all the time.

“I make sure that I do everything from top to bottom: make sure that patients have a follow-up; that information goes to their GP; and that they have a copy of their patient consent form,” he added.

Mr Ahmed has since trained all his pharmacists to give routine clinical examinations, as well to take samples and test them.

Finding appropriate courses to develop the walk-in clinics “has been challenging”, he admitted. Following his own experience and “numerous conversations with colleagues who have undertaken the prescribing course, yet do not prescribe in practice”, he developed a “multidisciplinary-led training programme” of his own, called MEDLRN.

Mr Ahmed aims to help other pharmacists put their prescribing qualifications into practice. “If they really put their minds to it and are willing to upskill, pharmacists are capable of doing it,” he said.

14 Comments
Question: 
Do you offer any private services in your pharmacy?

GP Pharmacist, Senior Management

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

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

'All GP practices are required to declare the mean earnings (e.g. average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice. The average pay for GPs working in (blank) in the last financial year was £147,797 before tax and national insurance.'

Just some information I took from a GP practice close by. If I was doing the same work as Mr Ahmed.... I'd expect similar remuneration as above.

If community pharmacy did start to offer these services across more pharmacies, whats the chances of any of this extra money making its way into the pocket of the person actually conducting the consultations?

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

Without commenting on this story; GP practices are businesses owned by the partners usually. 

GP employ associates who would typically be paid half of the numbers you state above. 

Why would an employee pharmacist be any different?

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

well done,  nice to hear a little honesty on here for a change , there's plenty others doing similar ,raking it in but pleading poverty , i postulate a minimum hourly rate of £35 for all pharmacists , employed or locum 

Clarke Kent, Community pharmacist

Well done buddy, it’s certainly a refreshing change, and goes to show that businesses can grow under forward thinking owners. Given me a few ideas. So thank you for sharing your story

 

Snake Plissken, Student

Great stuff about the consultation fee being considered at around £30. Doctors don't do free consultations and neither should we as pharmacists. I don't see why we should, when no other healthcare professional from the top my head does so but I don't mind being corrected. None the less, our time is valuable and should never be spent on ludicrous queries that we end up wasting time on. The most recent one for me was a vegan patient asking to find her iron tablet that is suitable for her to use with the expectation that all the different manufacturing companies will be phoned to get those details. Then she would take that info to the doctor to get a prescription with (sachets/liquids would not do btw). A £30 consultation fee would definitely get them to think twice before wasting any of our time.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

A bit of me says well done but another bit thinks the patients looking for a quick fix instead of Gp until something goes wrong and the cost of indemnity would be interesting and at least advanced practitioner qualifications together with  access to patients records is a minimum. Until try and tested leave well alone except Botox etc and always check insurance and members of the appropriate bodies otherwise will look like cowboys 

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"""Oxford pharmacy""" AND ""Botox"""

.......well that says it all.

Still, some refreshing news about what a Pharmacy can do if given an opportunity. Well done.

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Well done Faheem. 

How refreshing - a pharmacy offering services that patients actually want.  

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I wonder what qualifications (besides IP) and training Mr Ahmed has that would prove his competence in treating more advance minor illness requiring POMs, and as a generalist? Or is it a case of reading a book on steroid injections and then going for it, or having chats with the GPs over the phone? Think pharmacists need to be very careful with this learn-as-you go approach, and you need to be able to prove you have the necessary clinical qualifications, patient facing supervised experience to be able to prescribe and operate safely and within your competencies. Yeeehaaa

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Yep - Not exactly a whole load of PGDs out there that enable pharmacists to do this. Besides if its £8K turnover, what is the margin? If it's only £1K then hardly worth it, if you factor in training and locum cover etc.

 

Anyway good to hear some positive news in pharmacy

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

My thoughts exactly.

 

 

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

Amazing work by a talented and ambitious pharmacist. Great story. 

RS Pharmacist, Primary care pharmacist

Great story and well done for making use of your prescribing skills. However I wonder what Mr Hancock would say if all community pharmacist started charging patients for a consulatation...? The only difference is that Ahmey can prescribe POM's.

 

Job of the week

Pharmacy Technician
Greater and Central London
Starting pay at £12 per hour