Being viewed as equals by commissioners and other health professionals in primary care is going to be a crucial door to kick down, suggests Avicenna’s Salim Jetha

Current shortages and exchange rates – most ingredients are priced in dollars – have caused huge fluctuations in drug prices. It’s created an opportunity for some to play the stock market, but for most independent contractors who replenish stock on a dispense-one, order-one basis, it has caused significant problems. They lack the market intelligence to play the stock market and there is a lag period between the purchase price and the item being listed on concessionary prices.

To make matters worse, some purchases are in excess of listed prices, which can lead to huge losses.

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The Mary Seacole course has been a positive experience and a good way to get talking about developments in community pharmacy, says pharmacist Thorrun Govind

Opportunities for pharmacists are all around. Whether that be the chance to engage with the NHS Mary Seacole leadership programme or the pharmacy diploma, there are so many opportunities now available for pharmacists to develop their skills.

The Pharmacy Integration-funded Mary Seacole course has provided me with the opportunity to study online and I have met with my peers several times already.

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I don’t know if it is because I am getting older, but it seemed to me to have been an extremely long winter, and a pretty gloomy one for community pharmacy. But the sun has finally come out, and there are clear signs of spring in my garden.

The green shoots of recovery were late this year – but I would like to look forward with some optimism.

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Pharmacy should be proud of the sector's performance during the severe weather conditions this winter, says pharmacist Mike Smith

The severe weather in late February caused tremendous problems right across the UK, with many services grinding to a halt. I have to say that pharmacy performed really well to ensure that our patients received their vital medical supplies, again demonstrating the magnificent value we provide to our local communities.

There are numerous stories of staff walking to work and then delivering medicines to housebound patients on foot. If ever we needed a better example of the vital social and healthcare support that community pharmacies provide – this was it. I hope that these efforts receive recognition they deserve and we continue to PR ourselves.

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You have to act now to change the future of pharmacy, says Manor Pharmacy’s Graham Phillips

We’re all familiar with the concept of make every contact count (MECC) in pharmacy, but here’s a new one: Make Every Political Contact Count. Community pharmacy needs to get out there, and that means all of us getting involved – talking about the clinical, public health and social capital value of pharmacy and the threats to the network.

We need much stronger representation at the grass roots level, and I can tell you that YOU (all of you) are perfectly qualified to play your part. Start today! The good news is that you don’t need to be working at a national level or in high-powered meetings with CCGs, because you already have hundreds of opportunities a day to get the word out from the pharmacy you work in.

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