Waikerie Pharmacy is one of the finalists in the Pharmacy of the Year 2017 competition
The recognition that the pharmacy environment is changing and that business practices have to adapt to meet these changes has been an underlying strength in Waikerie Pharmacy.
The small South Australian rural town pharmacy has focused on implementing a wide range of high-quality professional services and has refurbished the store to accommodate the delivery of these services.
But Managing Partner Nathan Lloyd says that while striving to offer high-quality health services, Waikerie Pharmacy management understands that cross-funding these services from dispensary income is no longer viable.
“With the pharmacy’s declining dispensary profits due to PBS reform, the need to establish ‘user-pay’ health services was identified,” Mr Lloyd says.
“The services that have been implemented and refined in store include cardiovascular health screening, diabetes risk screening, cardiovascular monitoring, diabetes disease state management and a baby progress clinic.
“We also developed a Quit Smoking member program and a Health Check service which includes a bowel screen initiative.
“All of these user-pay services have been well received by patients who are happy with the professional approach, caring nature and accessibility of Waikerie Pharmacy’s health offering.”
The willing acceptance by the local community to user-pay services also reflects the pharmacy’s standing and commitment as part of the local community.
Mr Lloyd says the emphasis on ‘local’ is a very strong philosophy at the pharmacy. He was born and raised in Waikerie and only left the area to study pharmacy and obtain his university degree.
He showed his commitment to regional pharmacy by returning to complete his intern year in his home town, staying on as a local qualified pharmacist and then going on to become an owner in 2010.
“I think this fairly unique path to ownership has provided me with a special rapport with my customers that has come from my long history with them and the community,” he says.
Waikerie Pharmacy’s community engagement is further highlighted through its health promotion events and it regularly runs community education and outreach events including Diabetes workshops, men’s health awareness BBQ and Sun Smart and Skin Cancer information and education events – to name but a few. For these events the pharmacy often engages other local health professionals and service clubs and invites them to attend the events and provide support.
In addition, a registered nurse has been employed to support community outreach and education, and to support health services offered regularly in the pharmacy.
“Our registered nurse, Karen Collins, has established very sound relationships with other local health professionals and patients she consults with on a regular or when-required basis,” Mr Lloyd says.
He says Waikerie Pharmacy had always striven to meet the community needs of high-quality patient offerings and health services where possible. An example of this is that Waikerie Pharmacy was an early adopter of pharmacist-led vaccination in South Australia, being one of the first sites registered at SA Health to deliver this service.
“Waikerie Pharmacy’s philosophy begins with a strong foundation of connection with people and place and a focus on high-quality services and staff,” Mr Lloyd says.
“From there it strives for continual improvement by both responding to change and initiating change.
“Strategy comes from internal and external sources and has always been implemented with a reflective process. This proactive relationship with change puts Waikerie Pharmacy in a strong position for the future of pharmacy.”