Over the years, there have several attempts to work together in our area (PGD, Pharmacy Group Directive), but communication has failed and we now largely work on our own agendas. We are the only independent in the area and we are all in competition with each other.
Gary Jones, Borth Pharmacy prodelivery manager
If you look at the discussion around the Call for Action last year, one of the main things that kept coming up was the isolation that pharmacists can feel. I believe that on a professional level, a second pharmacist is key, and also that Alphega Pharmacy, the National Pharmacy Association and other virtual chains can help with networking with like-minded pharmacy innovators. On a personal level, I am vice chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LPC, and we have organised a countywide radio campaign on flu. Also, myself and the other independents in Newquay set up a successful joint flyer and newspaper campaign after the town was pitched by Pharmacy2U. In all cases strong co-operation reduces isolation and increases professional respect.
Nick Kaye, Nick Kaye’s Pharmacy, Newquay
Constant contact with local pharmacies is an important part of our work and always has been, swapping stock, keeping an eye on local miscreants and sharing a moan about common problems is a great pressure relief valve. We’ve always encouraged communication between our branches and other local contractors, no matter who they’re owned by. We’ve found this is usually reciprocated as the needs of patients far outweigh any business interests and, with the odd exception, I think pharmacy has always managed the competition/co-operation issue very effectively. In the future, I think ownership is likely to matter less to patients and especially commissioners than service and efficiency, so I can’t see this changing any time soon.
Peter Cattee, PCT Healthcare, Chesterfield
We have a group locally called Salveo, which is made up of 16 independent pharmacy contractors who work together in providing services such as health checks, diabetes screening, mole screening, AF screening and COPD screening. It’s very unusual to have independents sharing information and resources together.
Sunil Chopra, The Village Pharmacy, Hextable
We regularly hold meetings with other pharmacies locally and regionally to share ideas and information. At a pharmacy level, this often means pharmacists getting together after work to discuss specific issues. It has been extremely useful and helps to save a lot of time. I think that we all come away with a greater sense of clarity after these meetings.
Jay Patel, Day Lewis Group, Croydon
We actively work with other pharmacies, both independents and multiples. We have a good working relationship with all our local colleagues and we have reciprocal arrangements to help each other on any stock shortages and urgent access to medicines for presented prescriptions. On a more strategic level, we have also approached other independents to see how they are purchasing generic and PI medicines, with a view to pooling together to improve volume and discounts. Ashley D Cohen, Pharm-Assist (Healthcare)
Mr Pickford’s Pharmacy group is part of LIPCO Healthcare, a local independent pharmacy federation. We are a provider organisation and as such we need to work closely with one another when delivering local pharmaceutical and clinical services. Since inception, we have secured a number of services and realise that we need to support and communicate with one another. This type of collaboration is helping us overcome various common issues, such clarifying information, instilling confidence through peer mentoring and even sharing stock when we have run out, for example flu vaccines. I believe that collaboration is vital for community pharmacy if we are to surmount the seismic challenges in the NHS and secure our future.
Mukesh Lad, Mr Pickfords Pharmacy, Leicester