Forward pharmacy needs to be formally recognised in university pharmacy schools, and pharmacists given the tools to embrace professional services and counselling fully, says Bobby Afshari, owner of Blooms the Chemist Camden – and remunerated accordingly.
The pharmacy does HMRs, DAAs, group health checks and more within the facility, as well as numerous MedsChecks in the pharmacy itself.
“I think there’s a challenge for us, to try and prove not only to our own industry, but also to the clientele, the customer, that pharmacy can provide a much more valuable patient-centric service, rather than the traditional dispense a script, hierarchical service, where you’re up there at the back behind two different counters,” Afshari told the AJP.
“We’ve been running forward pharmacy for a year and a half now and always have two pharmacists on the floor, who are consultant pharmacists. That’s been a defining moment for my business in terms of its growth and differentiation.
“Forward pharmacy needs to be added to the new pharmacy degrees – not enough time is spent giving pharmacists the education required for us to change our industry, to be health professionals, not a glorified shopkeeper,” he says.
Afshari says Camden is a growth area, and he and his business partner decided to differentiate by offering services rather than price in order to better serve the rapidly changing needs of the community.
“We see a lot of 50 to 60 year old clients selling property, downsizing, then eventually moving into one of the many retirement homes or villages in this area; and so for us it was a challenge to be able to adapt our business to follow the lives of our customers where possible.
“So we can help them while they’re living on their own, and then in nursing home services. I think we’ll see more of the sort of thing we’re doing with Carrington, with the ageing population.”
He says there are challenges, however – some health professionals feel pharmacists working in these areas is overstepping boundaries.
“There’s also no real incentive from the Government in the 5CPA/6CPA in terms of DAA payments for nursing home clientele – that makes it very difficult at the moment. We’re not charging anything for these services.”
Pictured: Local State MP Chris Patterson, Bobby Afshari and Aneek Mollah, proprietors of Blooms The Chemist Camden, Camden Mayor Lara Symkowiak; and Blooms The Chemist CEO, Phil Smith.