Noel Wicks shares lessons learned about running an efficient delivery service

To deliver or not to deliver, that is a question heard frequently in pharmacies up and down the country. It’s not always a simple question to answer, as the article in this month’s issue describes (see page 10).

Over the past 15 years of offering delivery services from our pharmacies, we’ve had almost every imaginable (and unimaginable) scenario happen. These have ranged from the comical, such as drivers locking themselves out of vans, through to the exasperating, such as filling up with petrol instead of diesel and having to deal with insurance claims after accidents. Despite its frustrations, delivery remains a very useful, and often essential, service for customers.

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Don’t worry alone about what’s ahead. Discuss what can be done in the pharmacy as a group, says Noel Wicks

There are going to be some tough times and some tough decisions ahead for community pharmacy contractors in England. The recent proposals from the Department of Health couldn’t come at a worse time. The National Living Wage and employers’ pension contributions are adding financial pressure to a service that has already saved the NHS billions of pounds through Category M. It may be well into 2017 before the real damage of the DH cuts start to tell on businesses, but starting a conversation now with your team about the challenges ahead could be a prudent course of action.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights…

Many of you will remember this great Rod Stewart song. I even used it as the theme of my presentation at the recent Sigma annual conference in Jamaica in February, which was excellent, may I add.

The reason that the title of this renowned song is so apt in our industry is because we must ensure that the first cut is the only cut. I fear that the £170 million fee cut for pharmacies in England won’t be the only one, as there are already rumours of far deeper cuts to come.

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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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