By secretary of North East London LPC, Hemant Patel.

Look how much money is being thrown at GPs while pharmacy funding is slashed. Community pharmacy may not be dead but is definitely on its knees and is being set up to fail and collapse.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, has a clear plan to separate provision of knowledge-based care from product supply, and make changes at a pace and scale never seen before in the NHS. The consequences for the community pharmacy network are grave.

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By Jeremy Holmes, board member of the Association of Optometrists and a former chief executive and registrar of the RPS.

In the face of pharmacy’s funding cuts, is there something useful pharmacists can learn from the way optometrists operate?

Many community pharmacists look at optometry with something approaching envy. There are obvious similarities – a professional, regulated service combined with a retail business – but the margins on spectacles look very attractive, and the opportunity to offer regular sight tests, even if they are free, is a great way to build loyalty.

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By Mike Holden, Pharmacy Complete.

The one strong message that is coming up from grass roots pharmacy is the need for a clear and singular vision supported by an effective plan for the way forward for community pharmacy. 

One message, one vision, one plan.

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By NPA chief pharmacist Leyla Hannbeck.

If Australia’s experience is anything to go by, we all need to be ready to deal with a particularly bad flu outbreak this year.

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has warned that the UK could be in for an exceptionally bad flu outbreak this winter. Australia experienced its worst ever outbreak during its winter, and global circulation means there is a risk of the same here.

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Steve Anderson, managing director, Phoenix Healthcare Distribution.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life in community pharmacy, it is easy to lose sight of storms brewing on the horizon. One of the biggest is the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive.

The aim of the directive is to prevent falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain. It is due to be implemented in UK law by February 2019. What started life as a modest initiative focused on a handful of “high risk” medicines is morphing into an expensive, impractical and bureaucratic behemoth.

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By Ross Ferguson, pharmacist and writer.

We need to move with the times and stop suggesting pharmacy faces an either/or future, either technology driven or community based. Why can’t we have both?

I completely disagree with NPA chairman Ian Strachan when he says there are two paths that pharmacy can take: either “mass automation, centralised dispensing and pharmacists working predominantly from GP practices or remotely” or “community pharmacies better integrated with other services, operating efficiently as neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres, and being a front door to the NHS”.

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By Alexander Humphries*.

I don’t say this enough, but I love community pharmacy. OK, perhaps not quite as much when it is as tough as it has been recently, but for me it is all about people.

More professionally rewarding for me by far than any amount of clinical interventions or small day-to-day wins is when you can make a real difference to someone’s life. A few meaningful moments make all the other rubbish pale away – and so it has been for me of late.

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By NPA head of communications, Stephen Fishwick.

The NPA has released its ‘Face to face’ report and would like to your views.

Our ’face to face’ report is about the importance of local access and the human touch in healthcare. A number of policy and practice implications arise from this report, so we’d like to invite Pharmacy Magazine readers to give their views.

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By Ross Ferguson.

With the global sum for community pharmacy unchanged for 2017/18, we can all breathe a sigh of relief in Scotland.

After the conclusion of what Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) called “challenging discussions” with the Scottish Government, the community pharmacy global sum in Scotland remains unchanged at £178.359m for 2017/18. Compared to the situation in England, this seems somewhat more positive.

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By Mark Robinson, pharmacy lead at New NHS Alliance.

It may seem silly to talk about winter pressures in the middle of what is turning out to be a hot summer, but that is when planning should happen.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said last year “was the busiest winter ever within the NHS”. He went on to say: “The situation is unsustainable, and we must plan now to ensure we don’t put staff and patients under such intolerable pressure next year”.

The King’s Fund has produced reports showing the increased pressure in general practice. The BMA and the RCGP are both worried about how general practice, which is already in crisis, will again cope with another winter. NHS England seems to understand and has promised extra cash through the GP Forward View.

I am reliably told there will be another ‘Pharmacy First’ campaign that will try to explain to the population that they should visit a community pharmacy for a very wide range of conditions before seeing their GP or visiting out of hours or even urgent care services.

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