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Which multiple will suffer from quality payment pressures?

"I am sure bean counters at the multiples will set expectations for quality payments"

The Area Manager questions why the multiples seem to be following the same path – and whether service pressures might reveal their differences

In my last C+D blog, I talked about how many of the senior managers from different pharmacy businesses seem to have moved between companies in the past couple of years.

One thing that this senior manager merry-go-round does bring, is a reduction in the differences between companies. It feels to me that there is much less variation now between the main multiples than there was 10 years ago.

Novel ideas and good practices from each company now seem to cross-fertilise much faster – even the pharmacies themselves now seem to look more and more similar. I'm not sure if that’s a good thing.

At a recent local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) event in my patch, organised to help contractors navigate the new world of quality payments, I was listening to groups of pharmacists and managers from other multiples discussing what they had been asked to do by their companies. It was hard to see any differences in their approaches. Where once the results might have been the same for each company, the path to it would often vary tremendously. Now it feels like the path everyone is following is much the same – and I don’t think it needs to be.

I predict something interesting will happen later this year though. With this homogeneous approach to ensuring pharmacies receive their quality payments, I am curious to see at which point (and from which company) the first squeals and accusations of downward management pressure come from. Given that the amount of money at stake per pharmacy is equivalent to around half a year’s worth of medicines use reviews (MURs), I am sure that the bean counters will be setting expectations for securing these payments from their pharmacies.

We all remember the noise around MUR pressures not so long ago. I am sure that pharmacists and their managers are already wondering how their employer and their area manager will react to something happening to jeopardise this income stream.

After all, at some stage one of them will fail to achieve their target.

The Area Manager has worked for all of the large multiples


Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

You keep going on about these 'novel ideas and good practices', don't you. For the third time, would you care to elaborate and provide details of these novel ideas and good practices? 

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

 "novel ideas and good practices" = flogging MURs, paying locums bottom dollar, etc.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

They are the things thought up by pharmacist managers that area managers take the credit for.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

This article could be subtitled '- and who really cares?' It's the multiples who are the worst offenders in everything which is wrong with community pharmacy right now. The unveiled threat at the end of the article says it all.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

To be threatened by lower middle class area managers is about as insufferable as having to listen to their type at dinner parties discussing BMW option lists. Remember, these are the sort people who don't keep a decent book in their house but will happily spend hours browsing Rightmove looking at the price of another persons house.

Mr Realist, Community pharmacist

Fantastic piece of sweeping generalisation Shaun

Sharon Stone, Communications

I am amazed how long this "service gravy train" has survived, which lets be honest does'nt really benefit patients and is just a" cash cow ".

Edward H Rowan, Locum pharmacist

But if they were discontinued, the money would be removed from pharmacies altogether. It wouldn't be paid back into the global sum where it came from. Result - more reduction in staff pay.

Dave Downham, Manager

See boxes. Tick boxes. Claim cash.

Bhavin khima, Community pharmacist

Well said

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

You might think that - I couldn't possibly comment! ;)

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