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Communications with cut-through

Do your patients know what you offer at your pharmacy? Use clear communications to make sure they do

Hitting a low

Pharmacy teams are feeling stressed, dissatisfied and morale is plummeting. So what can be done?

On your marks…

Will a summer of sport encourage more to get active?

Green is good for pharmacy business

Going green isn’t just about saving on energy; it also means cutting down on waste and those items that go unnecessarily to landfill

Legal advice: Whose data is it anyway?

The rules around data can be confusing. So who exactly can use what?

Let’s turn apathy into action...

Mike Smith puts the world to rights… I fear for a profession whose main characteristic seems to be apathy. The NPA petition was a great success with 1.8 million signatures and clearly shows enormous public support for independent community pharmacy. Yet, it has all gone very quiet again, and it is vital that we keep the momentum going. However, it is also gratifying to see that so many people signed the petition on the government’s website – this all shows we have a strong collective voice. I welcome the news that the Department of Health (DH) will take longer to consider whether to expand hub and spoke dispensing. I said in this column many months ago that I regarded hub and spoke as a red herring following the £170 million cut, detailed in the now infamous 17 December 2015 letter from Keith Ridge and Will Cavendish. In my opinion, the financial model for hub and spoke is just not sustainable for the average independent pharmacy. However, a danger I do see is further development of organisations that hoover up electronic repeat prescriptions from the market, but do not necessarily provide the best care to patients. The consequence of this could be very significant for your pharmacy, and I urge you to be ultra-vigilant about this activity – you do not know what you have got until it’s gone.

The five rules for prescribing specials

New guidance on prescribing specials from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society supports expert decision-making and high-quality patient care. P3 looks at implications for pharmacy

Astbury returns as RPS president

Martin Astbury has been elected president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Build customer relationships

Warman-Freed Pharmacy looks for customer loyalty and developing a strategy that rewards both the customer and the pharmacy

Profession in shock at passing of Kirit Patel MBE

Kirit Patel FRPharmS, MBE, founder and chief executive of the Day Lewis group, has died

Help customers enjoy an active older age

Healthy life expectancy is now 66 years for women and 64 for men. Can this be improved?

How important could travel services be for pharmacy?

P3 asks about local responses to the Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign

Refer for persistent cough and breathlessness says PHE campaign

A public health campaign raises awareness of persistent cough and breathlessness, the symptoms of lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease

Medical devices face stronger regulation

A new era in the regulation of medical devices will improve public understanding of products, says the PAGB's John Smith

Community pharmacy faces change

There will be change: whether that’s imposed or it is created by the profession, says Raj Nutan

Work more closely with patients says King’s Fund

Healthcare must commit to working more closely with patients, The King’s Fund has said

Did I hear that correctly?

News of change is coming from all directions within healthcare at the moment, but it may not always be for the better, says community pharmacist Noel Wicks Occasionally in this line of work you hear things and your first reaction is “that can’t possibly be true”. And I’m not talking about Brexit. Perhaps you are not quite sure if something you just heard is an exaggeration or if it’s an urban myth. Whichever it is, you think that someone, somewhere, has muddled their facts. I had this experience only a few weeks ago, when someone told me that a CCG in England – in an attempt to cut costs – had informed GP practices not to prescribe things that could be bought over the counter. I laughed at first, but it quickly became apparent that the person imparting these “facts” was being deadly serious. I explained how ridiculous that would be, citing a long list of reasons why no one in their right mind would issue that sort of guidance. First and foremost it would represent a major policy change from the NHS’s mantra of free at the point of access. I wouldn’t imagine this going down well with the local population or their representatives in Westminster. Second, it would put your average GP in an enormously difficult position in refusing to treat a patient. I’m not sure how their regulatory body would view this, but I would imagine that refusing to treat someone might be considered worse than treating them wrongly.

Patients call for more clarity on professionalism

Patients ask for clear guidance for pharmacy professionals on achieving high standards of professionalism

Pharmacists with skills for the future

A new type of pharmacist is now emerging from university, suggests Noel Wicks Having just celebrated my 39th birthday, it is with some difficulty that I now look back and recall my time at university. I do remember how enjoyable it was and, in particular, I remember my first ever pharmacy practice lesson. This was the subject that most students were excited about doing because, unlike inorganic chemistry, people felt it most represented what they expected to be doing when they qualified. Two things from that first lesson have stuck in my mind ever since. The first thing was the total luxury of having three hours to dispense six prescriptions. The second was the ejection of a classmate who thought it would be fine to rock up 10 minutes late without his lab coat. We learned a couple of important lessons that day: that our pharmacist teacher-practitioner didn’t take any prisoners, and that we were expected to think and, more importantly, behave like professionals. You’ll be glad to know, by the way, that the miscreant in question was allowed back into the next pharmacy practice session, which he made sure he was the first to arrive for.

The new pension landscape

An employer’s commitment to staff pensions is an ongoing one, what's the best way to handle this?

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