Part of The Pharmacist’s series of case studies on how stock shortages are affecting ordinary pharmacists, a London contractor explains the impact on their pharmacy 


Sobha Sharma-Kandel – superintendent pharmacist of the Neem Tree Pharmacy and Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy, located across London


‘The shortages have increased our workload and led to cashflow issues. I definitely have to plan everything. Before it wasn’t that much effort as we knew what we were getting every month but now it’s definitely more workload.

‘Coupled with the funding cuts, our NHS remuneration has dropped by about 30%.

‘With the shortages, sometimes we can’t get the right stock for the patient but we’ve got a good relationship with our GP surgery so I normally just call them and they give an alternative.

‘I know it’s not the same for some of my colleagues – other surgeries are having a bit of a problem to change a prescription.

‘We probably spend an hour a day sourcing medicines. I usually call three or four wholesalers on a daily basis to get hold of a medicine.

‘I order from the normal national wholesalers everyone deals with but also the second liners as well. So I source the medicines from them – if one of them doesn’t have it in stock I’ll try another one and if none of them have it I’ll try to call the manufacturer. If it’s out of stock on there as well, then I’ll have to call the GP.

‘There’s not much option at the moment, [other than] just trying to deal with the issue with the local surgery. I think that has worked. If we know something is going out of stock, we normally send them a list – including what’s going out of stock and what alternative there is – and they can call us straight away for advice, which they normally do as well.’