Investing in our future - Together

Almost every sector has seen massive changes and challenges in the last decade with several heritage brands disappearing from the high street. Community pharmacy has faced its share of changes, some more welcome than others, but the core market dynamics today are not so very different from those a decade ago.

Yet the pace of change is gathering and our sector needs to embrace it and make it work in our favour. We need to look to where we want to be in the next 10 years, not where we were 10 years ago.

It’s interesting; ever since beginning my career in pharmacy, we’ve always talked about the changing landscape and how we are moving towards a more service driven agenda. All of this is true of course, but can we honestly say we have moved forwards?

The current funding model in England makes it prohibitive to continue to run your business the way you always have. Gone are the days where the dispensing model was commercially rewarding. It is abundantly clear that the Government is pulling money away from dispensing; this ultimately forces us to adapt and identify other income opportunities.

Like it or not, if recent experience is anything to go by, negotiations for a more financially rewarding contract in England in the future are unlikely to deliver a financially sustainable network of 11500 pharmacies. We have to live up the reality that in order to drive profitability we have to look at our current practices and think seriously about change.

The Government wants pharmacy to play an integral role in supporting localised patient health and we believe pharmacy is willing to embrace change but we need clarity around funding, and soon.

We are committed to working closely with our members to realise and embrace the opportunities that present themselves now and in the future. However, it will be important to reflect on the existing processes that often prevent many from lifting their head to focus on opportunities for growth.

If we are to face in to the future of digital integration and patient centred care then we have to start to consider how best we spend our time.

In the future, with a service-led contract, it won’t be sustainable or even commercially prudent to continue to focus purely on price. Spending time chasing penny savings sourcing product from multiple suppliers, is time that could be spent on commercially rewarding services people and the Government are prepared to pay for.

Together Numark and PHOENIX are committed to continue to deliver state of the art solutions that make it much easier and less time consuming to get a very competitive price on your basket spend. This is a core benefit of our large-scale supply chain innovation that supports the delivery of propositions such as Golden Tote, which we are delighted to offer exclusively to members.

We also continue to make significant investments in high profile propositions such as our recent Co-op Health acquisition which we will rebrand as Hey Pharmacist. This will help members tap into the benefits of a large-scale repeat prescription collection and delivery application to drive patient nomination.

Our partnership model needs both parties to support each other to achieve maximum mutual benefit.

These investments are being made on behalf of our members; they significantly strengthen our membership proposition and will enable our members to compete effectively in the future. We are committed to investing in your success, but we need you to help us help you.

Our membership base is stronger than ever and we will continue to do everything we can to help develop sustainable community pharmacies that are fit for the future. We can only continue to make investments that support your growth if you support us with your loyalty. Together, we can mutually grow our respective businesses and secure our joint future in the changing market place.

The future of pharmacy will be reliant on the provision of exceptional prescription services, a broad provision of healthcare incorporating both the convenience of digital whilst still championing face-to-face care, offering patients the best of both, but never breaking the link to their local healthcare professional. Together we can face into the challenges ahead, we will continue to share all the benefits of our investments to help you develop your prescription offering and enhance your service to patients. With your ongoing support and loyalty, long may that continue.

We can only continue to make investments that support your growth if you support us with your loyalty. Together, we can grow our businesses and secure our future.

To tap into all the benefits inherent in our relationship with PHOENIX turn to page 10 to hear how Golden Tote can transform your business, you’ll never go back to traditional dispensing.

We are raising an army of members to support Hey Pharmacist, our app that will allow you to secure patient nomination. We are committed to driving patients to you, but need your support.

Read 'Raising an army for Hey Pharmacist'