Layer 1

Xrayser: The new rules for pharmacy survival

There should be a whole new inspection principle for pharmacies

Xrayser suggests some principles to help decide who should survive the savage pharmacy cuts

Ever wondered what happened to the online pharmacy petition? It’s got over 53,000 ­signatures!

But now we have Pharmacy Petition 2.0, and last time I checked, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has already got more than 425,000 signatures – which equates to more than 12 pages.

Even in our digital age, handing over a truckload of paper is a better photo opportunity than showing the Department of Health (DH) a webpage.

But if the DH is right that there really are too many pharmacies, it shouldn’t be left to the government to choose who survives. Instead, there should be a whole new inspection principle for pharmacies, based upon what patients want. Some suggestions:

Principle 1 – pharmacists have to be a part of the community they serve. You and your staff must live within two miles of the pharmacy. Locums are allowed – provided they are local.

Principle 2 – you must have time to talk to patients and the public. To ensure this, a new service will be introduced, called a Chemist Health Assessment Talk, or CHAT. Pharmacists will be required to CHAT to a minimum of 400 patients a year and companies will be expected to set CHAT targets.

The service requires patient counselling that includes (but is not limited to): the dangers of statins as described in the newspaper that day; why the doctor won’t let them have any more tramadol; and how the rain is playing havoc with their arthritis.

Principle 3 – there must be adequate, comfortable seating at the dispensary occupied at all times by a minimum of three of the following:

  • a woman with a large shopping bag who may be waiting for a prescription but nobody really knows because she speaks no English;
  • a stressed mother with three screaming children and a lightweight pushchair that keeps toppling over with the weight of the carrier bags on the handle;
  • a teenager covered in acne;
  • an overly chatty man who reeks of alcohol even when it’s only 10­am.

Principle 4 – the pharmacy must provide “local services”. These include supplying directions to any location within a 10-mile radius, debating the political intentions of the DH’s prescription exemption categories, and providing an opportunity for customers to try their hand at over-the-counter prescribing: “Threadworms? My neighbour swears by a cup of vinegar taken at both ends…”

Principle 5­ – an essential part of the local pharmacy service is for the pharmacist to be licensed to sell intoxicating products. Diphenhydramine, codeine linctus, pseudoephedrine and solvents should all be readily sold with a cheerful greeting of “Hello mate – the usual?”

And, of course, the customer is always right. So any pharmacy that fails to comply with these principles will of course be deemed to fail and be closed down – without the need for any cuts at all. You have been warned.

6 Comments

Ebers Papyrus, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Bang on! Lets call them principle A to E now though we used numbers last time. We also need to come up with another 200 three letter abbreviations while we're at it.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

excellent, though missed the essential, "yes it IS my fault you didnt order your mst in time and yes I will lend you some until I can get a prescription"

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

""""""an overly chatty man who reeks of alcohol even when it’s only 10­am."""""""

..................Do Area Managers start that early ?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I've worked in a few places like that. It sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

As ever succinctly put!!

P M, Community pharmacist

nice one ...

Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)