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Pharmacy services development hit by time pressures

Independent contractors are struggling to find the time to improve their service offerings, with two thirds of Avicenna members saying lack of time is preventing service development and 28 per cent saying admin issues are having the same effect.

Twenty-three per cent of the 147 Avicenna members responding to the group's annual survey last month said a lack of staff was hitting services and less than 10 per cent blamed a lack of confidence or training.

The survey also showed that independents were struggling to hit maximum service targets, with a third of respondents saying they had not delivered a single new medicine service (NMS) intervention in the previous month and less than a quarter saying they had completed more than 300 MURs in the past year.

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Stock issues and control of entry were among the major factors contributing to rising stress levels, with 64 per cent of Avicenna members reporting a pessimistic outlook for the next two years.

Eighty per cent of the survey respondents said they were working even longer hours than last year, although this was down from 91 per cent in 2011.

Avicenna CEO Salim Jetha told C+D he had not been entirely surprised to see so many independents working longer hours, and he warned that financial problems could be adding to their stress levels.

"What surprised me is that 28 per cent of our members are putting more funding into their business," he said. "Making less is one thing, but putting funds into it is another thing and that must be stressful."

Mr Jetha said the survey also showed that it was not just pharmacy employees feeling under pressure.

"Both sides are stressed," said Mr Jetha. "Employers are under as much pressure as employees, so people do need to understand that they are under pressure too."

A spokesperson for Pharmacist Support said the Avicenna results were "not a surprise".

"In terms of the calls we receive here at the charity, people will mention as part of their enquiry that they feel under pressure at work and short on time," they said.

The charity reported that it had not seen any real fluctuations in the number of calls to its enquiry line this year compared with last year, but said it had so far seen fewer calls related to stress at work than in 2011.


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2 Comments

Raymond Lee, Community pharmacist

Community Pharmacy needs to embrace the changes - I remembered the times we use to make creams and potions; spending time to fit trusses; measuring hosiery and ACTUALLLY fitting them. Did they make money and improve patient outcomes?

Surely we need to look forward and spend more time with patients to improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary costs such as poor patient compliance and improving lifestyle. There is little point in dispensing the BP tablets when they are still having a poor diet, drinking excessive alcohol and still smoking!

Pharmacy needs to look at the bigger picture.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Independent Pharmacy needs the support of government, professional bodies and their local chambers of commerce as they face unprecedented challenges in the retail sector.

Uniquely, one way forward for young pharmacists to set up businesses is through collaborative partnerships and co-operatives so that they can share the opportunity costs.

Community pharmacy's success and future will be dependent on young pharmacists openning new businesses or reinvigorating existing pharmacies as the public should have more choice than simply the big multiples.

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