The Judicial Reviews challenging the cuts have been dismissed. The judge’s view was that they were not unlawful and, in the context of the £22billion funding gap faced by the NHS, the cuts were inevitable. The Department of Health got a rap on the knuckles for poor process and limited disclosure of facts, but the fact is, the cuts are here to stay.
So what does that mean for community pharmacy owners? The pain has already been felt from the initial reduction in fees and the impact that has had on cashflow, but there is another pinch point to come in June which must be planned for. In our Viewpoint item in October 2016 we recommended 10 actions to take on things you can control, those still apply and are even more urgent (see below).
The positive is that over 11,000 pharmacies have engaged with the Quality Payment scheme although we have yet to see the detail. This is a clear signal that the sector is both willing and able to deliver these criteria. We hope that 100% deliver against all 4 of the gateway criteria and the 8 quality criteria by the November 24 claim date. Many pharmacies chose to delay achieving Healthy Living Pharmacy status knowing that they can claim in November; we can help you with that through our Complete HLP suite.
Community pharmacy has long been done to and not shaped its own destiny, either nationally or at individual business level. The time has come to create our own future both professionally and economically. At national level, unity and strong collaborative leadership will be critical if we are to realise the aspirations and opportunities in the Community Pharmacy Forward View, the Murray Review and the subsequent Making it Happen document.
At individual business level, where you are in control, every owner must develop their own plan to create a resilient business. Our 10 recommendations are a great place to start and we can support you in creating that business plan:
1. Redefine your purpose – what you love doing, what you are good at, what there is a need for and what is more likely to result in generating new profitable income
2. Engage and settle your team – developed and motivated workforce will be more productive
3. Now is the time to invest in your people – develop them as Health Champions so that you have the right people doing the right things at the right time
4. Hold up a mirror to yourself and your business; build on your strengths and minimise your weaknesses
5. Maximise all current opportunities – focus first on delivering quality MURs, NMS, flu vaccination service (prepare and plan now), the Quality Payment criteria and any locally commissioned services
6. Look at your OTC business and set short, small growth targets and engage your team in achieving these, rewarding with team incentives
7. Take a critical look at your community (your market) and consider the health and wellbeing opportunities to grow further
8. Make a plan and engage your team in the development and implementation of that plan
9. Fully embrace and implement Healthy Living Pharmacy – this is more than a quality criteria, its a business development model that will differentiate your pharmacy
10. Create an ethos that delivers a high quality customer experience that will build loyalty, footfall, service delivery and transaction value