With the new contract and Quality Payment Scheme established, it is clear the shift in the NHS agenda for pharmacy to provide a more clinical focus to frontline healthcare. Whilst some pharmacies still operate successfully on the traditional dispensing model, more and more pharmacies are displaying clear entrepreneurship in a complex environment; listening and understanding the needs of their customer base and adapting their business model to maximise on the opportunities that exist.
One Numark member pharmacy who provides an excellent example of true entrepreneurship is Everest Pharmacy.
Everest Pharmacy may be located in what could be considered a deprived area of Manchester but owner Waqqass has done anything but allow the standards of care available to his community slip.
As soon as you walk into the pharmacy the light, bright and modern interior smacks of a pharmacy that takes great pride and care in everything that it is and does. Two consultation rooms provide privacy and accessibility for patients which allows for them to enhance service provision.
Not only does the layout itself provide accessibility, but the provision of a female pharmacist provides welcome relief to the female Muslim community who for religious reasons struggle to access appropriate healthcare elsewhere and the extended opening hours (7am-10pm) mean that patients can access services at a time that is convenient for them.
The selection of high quality services provided by the team is born of the deep understanding Waqqass has of his customer’s needs.
Everest Pharmacies ‘health check service’ offers a blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI testing. It takes only 15 minutes and costs only £5 to the patient which is outstanding value. They believe the provision of this service reinforces their rapport with their patient base and creates a firm loyalty as customers continue to visit to monitor their progress. The pharmacy is working towards their HLP Level 1 accreditation and is well equipped to provide healthy living advice to support patients to lead a healthier life following their results.
And even their health promotion materials are futuristic; their ‘health point’ computer system lists over 30 thousand pieces of health advice for patients as is free for them to use with the ability to email the advice to themselves, or print out and take away with them.
Other specialist services offered include the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage vaccines; due to the large congregation of people a certificate of vaccination against meningococcal meningitis infection ACWY is a primary requirement or no visa can be issued. Everest Pharmacy provides both the vaccine and the certificate.
Their sexual health clinic is also highly popular, with instant results for HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea testing.
Meriem Derouiche, tells us that the group has developed its services based on research of the local demographics and customer requests. She tells us that patients often struggle to get the services as quickly and efficiently at local GP practices and fast and instant test results have provided the group with a unique selling proposition.
When asked what the group do to ensure they meet the highest clinical standards, Meriem responds that it all comes down to regular training and development of the teams.
Further to compulsory training requirements, the team attends CPPE events and evenings put on by their LPC. Regular reviews of staff performance help the team know that they are valued and appreciated and provide opportunity for them to raise any questions or concerns.
Gary Choo, Head of Information Services at Numark is in regular contact with Waqqass’ team and has been impressed on many an occasion with the types of challenging queries they put to the Information Services team.
“Numark Information Services team are pleased to work closely with Waqqass and his team to provide excellent customer care. We are in regular contact with the Everest group providing a variety of support including clinical advice. We also discuss his community’s specific needs in terms of sourcing meat free or halal excipients in medicines, issues with compliance during Ramadan and vaccine information for pilgrimage.”
This further enforces just how focused the team are on providing support and advice to their customers, going the extra mile to ensure appropriate healthcare for their individual needs.
The important message to all independents is to really get to know your community, listen to them and adapt your offering for the benefit of your business and your patient’s health.
To find out more about Everest Pharmacy please visit www.everestpharmacy.co.uk.