Pharmacist Bipin Patel, owner of Broadway Pharmacy in Bexleyheath, talks to Saša Janković about offering services from CityDoc in his pharmacy.

Service type: CityDoc travel health and other services

Name and location of pharmacy: Broadway Pharmacy, Bexleyheath

Name of pharmacist: Bipin Patel

Why did you start offering this service?

It was specifically to set up a travel clinic at first, because CityDoc does all the marketing and appointment booking on behalf of the pharmacy, but we have subsequently gone on to offer our customers other services from them as well. We started in 2016.

How much did it cost to set up the service?

There is no monthly fee to be part of the CityDoc network but we have partnership agreement which is like a profit share per vaccination that you do, and you are invoiced on a regular period by the provider for the activity you have had.

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

CityDoc initially provided me with in-house vaccination training, and we also did sexual health training with them.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

CityDoc markets the services directly to customers and books them in for their appointment at the pharmacy. This then appears in our diary and when the person turns up we will go through a consultation and risk assessment with them before providing the service they have come in for.

They offer a range of services and we do all the ones we can under a PGD in the pharmacy, which for us includes travel vaccines, sexual health screening and phlebotomy.

With our phlebotomy service we try to work with other care agencies as they require their employees to be compliant with occupational health vaccines – so we can do hepatitis b, HIV, MMR and varicella testing, all via CityDoc. If the person gets a positive test result they then get signposted to a GUM clinic or their GP for follow up.

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

Because of the way the booking system works we get patients from further afield than our local customer base, so it is definitely a useful tool to make people more aware of our location and what we do – so we always make sure they have a good experience and will want to come back again.

We do offer a few travel products that match in with the travel vaccinations, which is also useful for customers.

How have patients responded to the service?

We do get lots of repeat customers coming back for other services, and if they are a local patient it promotes our pharmacy to them for other services they may not have known about that they then come back for at a later date.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?

We see about 15-20 people a week via CityDoc, which gives a reasonable footfall that makes it viable for us to provide the service.

How much do you charge for the service?

Prices vary depending on the vaccines people choose to have, ranging from £39 from typhoid to £98 for Japanese encephalitis. For phlebotomy it’s £55 for a basic blood test for hep b, to £110 for MMR.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

The partnership has been good for me because it has generated a reasonable amount of extra footfall for the pharmacy, and that’s what other contractors need to work out. Yes you are sharing your profits with a partner but you’ve got a reasonable footfall because of their partnership, whereas if you had a standalone clinic would you get as much footfall? It’s about the footfall you anticipate you’d get working on your own versus working with a partner you know will drive patient through the door.