It may be time to think about charging for some of the services that community pharmacy has been offering our customers for free, says Noel Wicks

These days everything seems to be about “no frills”, and while some businesses have always had this as a core value, others have had to introduce it simply to compete.

One example of this that really sticks out for me is British Airways. This is a company that has, for many years, offered me a comprehensive service in a single inclusive ticket. But now, the advent of competitor low-cost airlines, with their basic ticket prices and premium add-on choices, has forced BA to change its pricing model. The pressures on basic ticket prices in the market mean that BA, too, now offers a standard ticket, but with additional costs for baggage and seat allocation.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights…

Community pharmacy will need to take steps to minimise the impact of the government’s proposed £170 million cuts

It’s time for pharmacists to take action to minimise the impact of the government’s proposed £170 million cuts. My last column was written just two days after the Department of Health (DH) published its letter announcing a 6 per cent cut to pharmacy funding, which meant I had little time to comment. I have now had time to reflect on the letter, along with the many briefings and comments since, and although this has helped me to form some clear opinions, further developments will mean my words may be out of date by the time you read this, but here’s what I think so far.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights…

So we now know the full impact on community pharmacy of the huge financial strain on the NHS – a £170 million cut in funding for 2016, announced by pharmacy minister Alistair Burt and chief pharmacist Keith Ridge in late December. Before I comment on the implications, I want to make three additional observations about how this game-changing announcement landed...

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Community pharmacy offers patients and the NHS far more than just product supply and dispensing medicines, but is this really recognised, asks Noel Wicks

One thing we don’t do enough in pharmacy is talk about the care we provide. Instead, we tend to focus on the products or services we supply. While these are a part of the care we give, they form only a part of the total package.

If you consider what pharmacy teams up and down the country do each and every day, the reality is that the benefit of the community pharmacy network extends far beyond simple dispensing.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights…

I read with interest the article in last month’s issue of P3 about the government’s aim to change the law by next October to allow independents to make use of centralised dispensing. As is to be expected, community pharmacy views on the option are “cautious”. I personally share that view and believe there is still work to be done before it could be implemented across the sector. This includes a detailed assessment of the logistical challenges, and cost and safety considerations associated with implementation. Most importantly, we must be absolutely certain that it doesn’t lead to an increased risk of dispensing errors.

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