Part of The Pharmacist’s series of case studies on how stock shortages are affecting ordinary pharmacists, a Bristol contractor explains what effect they are having on his business
Ade Williams, Superintendent pharmacist, Bedminster Pharmacy, Bristol
‘Shortages are taking up quite a lot of time in the pharmacy.’
‘The worst of all is that patients’ care is sometimes altered because of the unavailability of prescribed medicines.
‘We are contacting multiple suppliers and also liaising with colleagues who happen to have a required item in stock.
‘But all of this is still only providing limited relief from the prevailing situation and many times yielding unfruitful results.
‘The shortages have certainly increased workload across the team, causing issues ranging from incomplete prescriptions to an increased risk associated with multiple dispensing and editing inputted details on the PMR system. This comes on top of patients’ frustration and multiple delivery trips when the business is trying to maximise efficiencies.
‘The cash flow impact of items being only available above the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) agreed tariff price means that even when the concessionary price provides a reimbursement, it may yet be below the procurement price.
‘The time invested to procure medicines isn’t taken into account and any cash flow forecast will be made redundant as a result of rightly obtaining the items to ensure patient care isn’t compromised.
‘Our professional and ethical obligation to put patient care foremost puts us at risk of significant financial loss alongside daily efforts to mitigate the impact of the funding cuts. This is unviable.
‘The most worrying part of this debacle is that it can potentially undermine the excellent work done galvanising public opinion and support to appreciate the threat to the local community pharmacy network.
‘Our argument that providing face to face pharmaceutical services locally delivers more than just an excellent added value supply function becomes unhinged if we are perceived to be unable to fulfill that supply role effectively.
‘I can only welcome the Pharmaceutical Negotiating Committee’s (PSNC) efforts to get a fairer price concessionary system alongside a groundswell of political support – but all this must be maintained.
‘The system needs fixing urgently with any alternative supply model offering a solution.
‘Our representative bodies must therefore not only make the case for a resolution but put forward the best ideas to do so now.’
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