Shahid Hussain, superintendent pharmacist, IP and ACP at Littleover Pharmacy in Derbyshire, talks to Saša Janković about running a private walk-in clinic for minor ailments.
Service type: Private walk-in clinic
Name and location of pharmacy: Littleover Pharmacy, Derbyshire
Name of superintendent pharmacist: Shahid Hussain
When did you start offering this service?
I’m Littleover born and bred – I used to come to this chemist when I was younger, and now I live just down the road. I bought the pharmacy at the end of last year and started offering the private walk-in clinic in March 2021.
Why did you start offering this service?
Because I have all the skills and people have been struggling to get GP appointments. We still see patients saying they can’t get into the GP and they’ve been trying for 10 days. Littleover has a lot of elderly residents and they are really frustrated about this, and don’t want to have to sit in a walk-in centre for four or five hours either, whereas I can deal with most of them on the same day.
How much did it cost to set up the service?
I had to modify my consultation room to allow for all the clinical equipment I needed. For example, we offer ear microsuction as that is no longer commissioned by the NHS from GPs so we have invested in a machine for that. We also have separate computer systems with software tailored to our clinical services, and the kit to go with them such as a stethoscope, otoscope, SATs monitor, a cholesterol checking machine for diabetes testing, and a weight checking machine that measures body fat percentage. On top of that, all our indemnity insurance and training needs to be up to date.
What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?
I wanted to top up my training to make sure I could answer any queries from patients as well as clinical colleagues, so I went to Mh Rx Ltd which offers walk-in clinic training.
In a nutshell, what does the service involve?
We do leaflet drops and have marketing posters in the pharmacy, and we are on one of the busiest roads in Derby lots of people find us that way, as well as by word of mouth from other satisfied customers who have recommended us.
The first thing I say to customers is to try their GP or NHS111 first, but if they choose to use our private service then I’ll do a consultation with them. This can take about 10-15 minutes, depending on what their issue or concern is, and at the end they can get same-day medication from us, where appropriate.
I like to say we cover most conditions from A-Z, from chest infections, ear nose and throat, fungal nails, infected eczema mastitis, shingles, tonsillitis, UTIs, and many other minor illnesses.
Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation?
Yes, absolutely. For example, if someone wanted ear microsuction they need to use olive oil beforehand, and that can be supplied over the counter if necessary.
The consultations may also present the opportunity to talk to the person about the other services we offer, such as smoking cessation, weight management, flu vaccinations, blood pressure testing and EHC.
How have patients responded to the service?
The feedback for the walk-in clinic has been amazing. In the reviews our patients have written they call us ‘an absolute godsend to Littleover’ and have said they ‘could not be happier’ and ‘would definitely be using [the service] again’.
Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?
We see 60-70 patients a month on average.
How much do you charge for the service?
The charge depends on the complexity of illness, but patients have told us they find it really good value.
Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?
It’s a very involved service so if you are not an IP or an ACP then it’s going to be difficult to offer this kind of service, but apart from that I’d say yes, definitely go for it.