Reshma Malde, superintendent pharmacist at John Bell & Croyden in Wigmore Street, London, talks to Saša Janković about the pharmacy’s new InResidence health clinic.

Service type: InResidence health clinic

Name and location of pharmacy: John Bell & Croyden, Wigmore Street, London

Name of superintendent pharmacist: Reshma Malde

When did you start offering this service?

We have been offering the individual services for a while, but these evolved during the pandemic and came together as InResidence in February 2022.

Why did you start offering this service?

The seed of InResidence came from a patient who had used our dietetic service, and came back to for another of our services as he had been so pleased with how the initial interaction had gone. I realised he was using us as a ‘pick and mix’, which gave me the idea to bring all the services and all our HCPs together as one holistic offering, using the full suite of PGDs available to us, rather than continuing with booking people in for one service with one healthcare professional at a time.

With the hospital backlog continuing to drive pressure on healthcare services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and community pharmacies increasingly playing a key role in helping to meet rising demand, our aim for InResidence is that it provides a safe route for patients to access timely care, while easing the pressure on GPs.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?

We have trained our own phlebotomists and can offer a full suite of blood analysis tests as part of the InResidence consultation, and if anything further comes up we have the support of a doctor linked into that.

One of my pharmacists is also currently doing a functional medicine practitioner course, and I will incorporate that into our service offering just as I would with an independent prescriber.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

All our floor teams are trained to recognise when customers’ queries show they could benefit from an InResidence consultation, and can explain to them what that is.

If the customer chooses to make use of that they then speak to our experts and we will put together a plan that is right for them. The initial consultation is half an hour, in which we work though what they had in mind as we want the service to be patient-led.

Using PGDs enables our pharmacists to offer a complete end-to-end solution where applicable and offer the customer what's appropriate for them. This includes for obesity, urinary tract infections, throat infections, ear infections, and flu, as well as emergency inhaler supply, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, allergies, a variety of skin conditions, and vaccinations for travel and occupational health. We have also added nutrition services, phlebotomy and the hypertension case finding service.

We can do some things on the day, but if the customer needs another consultation we can book that in. That initial half hour is generally enough time to do most of the basic testing we need, and if they need blood work we have a team of phlebotomists who can take the bloods, send to the lab, and the patient is sent the results with a follow-up consultation to put the numbers into context.

Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation?

We could simply market the whole suite of services we do here, but what patients actually need is someone to talk through all the options to see what best fits. That’s where it starts, with human contact bringing it together.

How have patients responded to the service?

When patients see the health benefits they use us as an ongoing service to improve their health, not just to help when something is wrong.

How much do you charge for the service?

The price varies depending on the service they have come for, and what other services are recommended during it.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Yes! It’s all about offering holistic care: what does the person need today for the problem they’ve walked in with, but also what do they need long term. It has given us a really good cushion for patients to take control of their own health with pharmacists and nutritionists to help, and we can of course escalate them to their GP if that is needed. In my opinion, empowering people to take control of their health rather than simply be directed to do things helps them build lifelong relationships with healthcare professionals.