The remuneration of pharmacies is nothing less than an absolute disgrace. The government has found easy pickings with pharmacy, because we don’t have a strong enough collective voice and we don’t go on strikes.
My company has three pharmacies where we own the freeholds, and yet in the last four months my business overall has made a loss of almost £7,000 per month. There seems to be no sign of this abating. We now also have a situation where the costs of employing staff are going up, due to the minimum wage increasing, while our remuneration is decreasing.
Where else do you find mugs who dispense prescriptions, only to find that at times they are reimbursed less than what was paid for the medicines? Nowadays, if you are unfortunate enough to own a pharmacy, you get headaches untold.
The community pharmacist gets clobbered with so many new regulations, and then must keep up with the ever-changing drug prices and buying dilemmas. We spend untold numbers of hours just checking prices to avoid dispensing at a loss, let alone to make a profit.
The NHS has become greedy and now sees pharmacy as an easy target. It started with a limited timeframe for this category M clawback – pharmacy's own fault for not being vigilant enough in the first instance – but the funding cuts now seem to be never ending.
The sector is also facing increasing and unprecedented workplace pressures, keeping up with new regulations and, most of all, trying to keep our heads above the water in these challenging times.
I would have been better off running coffee shops, as I would have at least made a decent profit without the associated headache of running a pharmacy – and the added responsibility of dealing with people’s lives. Pharmacists can’t afford to be complacent at any time. Who wants that stress?
When it comes to the remuneration of pharmacy, the NHS has lost track and is now treading on dangerous grounds, as the sector is in total financial chaos. I’m glad I’m no longer a young pharmacy owner, because the future seems to be bleak and daunting.
The contractor owns three community pharmacies in south England