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*By Alexander Humphries

I’ve known this person for years. She is a dispenser, seen it all, tough as old boots, bless her – which made me sit up and take notice when she started to get upset when we chatted recently. Normally it would take a herd of rhinos to stop her, but this day she was really deflated.

“How is your new dispensing system working out for you?”, I asked. “Not good,” she said. “We all have had to cut our hours. I’ve had to apply for another job because I can’t afford to lose the hours.”

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By NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick

The road to success is rarely one taken alone. That is why the vast majority of independent pharmacies choose to be members of the National Pharmacy Association. For nearly 100 years, we have brought community pharmacists together, to pool resources, learn from each other and move forwards together.

In tough times the sector needs to stick together to develop solutions that benefit everyone and underpin progress at scale. That’s why we’ve chosen Forwards in Partnership as the theme for our national conference in Manchester on June 20. The conference is a collaboration between the NPA and Pharmacy Magazine, so the idea of partnership is at the very heart of arrangements.

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By Richard Thomas, Editor, Pharmacy Magazine

Pharmacists in England have long cast their gaze enviously towards their colleagues north of the border. A smaller population, shorter lines of communication and greater alignment between the profession and those in power are obvious advantages. However, there is a clarity and sense of direction regarding pharmacy in Scotland that is completely lacking in England.

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By Alexander Humphries*

Our main wholesaler has now missed four afternoon deliveries in a fortnight. Twenty per cent of our deliveries have failed to arrive as a result. Our business, like every other pharmacy, relies on a just-intime supply chain, meaning that when things go wrong it immediately causes us a problem. Work starts to back up and patients are kept waiting for their medicines.

When we complain to the driver, he tells us that the reason he misses us out is that his employer will not pay him overtime in order to complete his deliveries. This is unbelievable as we’re talking about a multi-billionpound organisation here, but it just shows, if true, how much contempt there is for us as customers.

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By Richard Thomas, Editor, Pharmacy Magazine

The overwhelming vote by Boots pharmacists to recognise the PDA Union after a bitter dispute lasting nearly eight years could have implications not only at the UK’s biggest pharmacy chain but also sector-wide. It was a crushing defeat for senior managers at Boots, who badly misjudged their response from the very start, and a stunning victory for the PDA.

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