Part of The Pharmacist’s series of case studies on how the funding cuts are affecting ordinary pharmacists, a London contractor explains what effect they are having on her business
Sobha Sharma-Kandel – superintendent pharmacist of the Neem Tree Pharmacy and Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy located across London
‘The impact of the funding cuts was much worse than expected.
‘Our NHS remuneration dropped quite a bit, about 30%, which is probably between £7,000 and £8,000 a month, across one pharmacy.
‘On occasions it’s more because we don’t get paid the same amount every month as it depends on the items we dispense. It might then be between £7,000 to £10,000, which is quite a lot.
‘When I take on new staff, I have to be careful about staffing. Before, we had three or four members of staff on the shop floor, now I have to do with two or one part-timer.
‘It’s been difficult because the work is mounting up but you need to think about costs as well and we’re not getting any help from the Government.
‘I had to think of other income streams including more private services, starting with patient groups directions (PGDs). I’m looking into aesthetics now as well – looking into what people want – and the online market.
‘I have used all resources to claim everything we were entitled to. We did everything that was required to meet the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS) criteria. I went to the leadership training to be health champion – we got registered as a healthy living pharmacy (HLP).
‘But it’s difficult because if we do this everyday, we need to show evidence to get the same [remuneration] we used to get before. I guess it’s because some pharmacies weren’t doing that before but it’s just introduced more paperwork and it’s a cashflow problem.
‘You get the QPS twice a year but what do you do the other times you have cashflow issues?
‘Because I’ve got two pharmacies, it’s easier for me to share my resources. In other places they probably have to make staff redundant.
‘I think the way forward is campaigning and advocating for the profession. We have to go more clinical and can’t just sit in the dispensary and think about increasing items.'