How Chemist Warehouse is impacting Kiwi competitors; LloydsPharmacy workers strike in Ireland; pharmacist prescribing proposed for Scotland
Dublin, Ireland: LloydsPharmacy workers have gone on strike a number of times, most recently on 27 July, when more than 150 of its workers gathered for a meeting and picketed the company’s head office.
LloydsPharmacy workers and the Mandate Trade Union say they are “fighting back against low pay, insecure hours at work – including zero hour contracts, inadequate sick pay and they’re also fighting for the right to trade union representation”.
The workers say they will proceed to an eighth strike shortly, “unless management at the company see sense and agree to meet with the workers’ representatives”.
Striking LloydsPharmacy workers spoke to RTE Drivetime, saying that the recent rise of five euro cents (AUD eight cents) per hour was “insulting” and saying that they had attended work while ill because there was no sick pay on offer. “I had a mortgage and I couldn’t afford not to come in,” said one worker of a time she had had flu; she then said she had been forced to take sick leave without pay when she had shingles on her face.
A LloydsPharmacy spokesperson told the station that there were no zero hour contracts; however one Lloyds manager said that part-time workers could still end up with zero hours’ work against their wishes.
New Zealand: Thanks to the arrival of Chemist Warehouse in the New Zealand market, more pharmacies are feeling compelled to offer free prescriptions, reports Stuff.
The owner of the nearby Balmoral Pharmacy, Nikil Lal, says he has also started to offer the free scripts, by removing the NZ$5 (AUD$4.58) subsidised prescription charge.
“We have an older migrant customer base. While those coming in for prescriptions don’t usually buy other things, the promotion has significantly increased foot traffic,” Mr Lal said.
“At the end of the day if you’re not sensible with pricing you’ll be quickly out of step with the market and you’ll lose customers.”
He said that the decision had not been easy, and was in recognition that his customers were price-sensitive. To offer the free scripts, it was vital he maintain a sustainable business model, he said.
Stuff also spoke to Warren Flaunty, who had spent more than 50 years in pharmacy and was now retiring, and who said the sector’s future did not look good.
“Pharmacies could lose millions in turnover if they copied the Chemist Warehouse’s free prescription model,” Mr Flaunty said.
“It would especially be a big hit for small businesses. Some that do it may fall by the wayside.”
Scotland: Community Pharmacy Scotland, which represents pharmacy owners across the country, has said it supports a Scottish Conservatives proposal which would see pharmacists trained in prescribing.
The Conservatives’ Pharmacy Plan recommended considering the idea of opening pharmacies 24 hours a day; giving pharmacists access to “appropriate” patient records; leading medicines reviews and having a larger clinical role in pharmacies, GP practices, care homes and surgeries.
Pharmacies are in an ideal position to help, and that’s why we want to see them become a key partner in primary health care.
“By increasing their capabilities and allowing them to become trained prescribers we can allow pharmacies to treat common ailments more speedily,” said shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.
“By exploring the introduction of extended hours for pharmacies, including in 24-hour supermarkets, we can help provide immediate help around the clock.
“This would not only take pressure off our GPs, but also provide better patient care.”
The Scotsman reports that Community Pharmacy Scotland said that the 24-hour concept would need to be treated “carefully”.
Auckland, New Zealand: Feilding Health Pharmacy has been named Community Pharmacy of the Year by the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand, at the 2018 Pharmacy Awards.
Guild Chief Executive, Andrew Gaudin said that the pharmacy was “thoroughly deserving of this recognition and a prime example of what our patients’ value about community pharmacy”.
“The runner up in this category was Vivian Pharmacy who is also delivering an outstanding service to their community. The judges visited the two finalist pharmacies to see them in action and decide the winner.
The rural Feilding Health Pharmacy developed a model that puts people first by providing quality care, as well as reducing additional travel and costs for patients, the Guild says.
This began in 2016 when several Feilding pharmacy owners decided to join their businesses together and secure the lease of a new pharmacy in response to local GPs merging their practices.
The new business provides a comprehensive range of services, including vaccinations, warfarin management and free emergency contraception to women under the age of 25.
Most notable is the work the company’s pharmacists have achieved in developing an innovative service through MidCentral Community Pharmacy Group to provide prompt treatment for children with dehydration caused by gastroenteritis, the Guild says.