Core Belief: Face-to-face contact is vitally important

13 Jul 2017

‘Even more in this age of increasing automation and digitalisation, the face to face relationship between health professionals and patients matters.’

Thorrun Govind is a community pharmacist from Bolton with strong media presence, including a monthly slot as the resident pharmacist at BBC Radio Lancashire. Thorrun has recently appeared as a guest on BBC’s Newsnight to discuss the consequences of cuts to pharmacy services.

Community pharmacy is the front line of the NHS, helping to alleviate the strain on other services. Local face to face care, without an appointment, with a clinical professional is the unique selling point of community pharmacy. The clue is after all in the name- ‘community.’

It’s about taking the time to encourage vulnerable patients to feel comfortable with coming to see you. It’s about helping patients that are feeling depressed, and working together with other healthcare professionals locally to find the right balance of medication and psychological support.. It’s about comforting someone who has had a fit and calling their mum. It’s about the pharmacy delivery driver who is Dementia-trained and is the only person that a patient sees apart from a carer.

It’s about providing treatment via a local minor-ailment scheme to save the NHS the cost of a £45 GP appointment. It’s about the lady who unwraps her pregnancy test in the consultation room and asks you to check is she is pregnant. It’s about the pharmacist who spots during a medication use review that a patient has had a stroke.

It’s about people.

An Amazon style delivery service can’t check a patient’s blood pressure. It can’t comfort a lady when she comes in and tells you her husband has passed away and it definitely can’t instantaneously provide you with the antibiotics you need to start immediately.

Pharmacy is changing, but we need independent prescribers in community pharmacies who have established a level of trust with their patients.

Community pharmacy always wins in the community.


Do you agree with Thorrun? What are your opinions on the NPA’s statement of core beliefs?

Come back next week for another instalment of the NPA Core Beliefs series, where the next guest blogger will be covering one of the following topics:

  • Community pharmacy works.
  • Community pharmacy can do so much more.
  • Face-to-face care is vitally important.
  • A pharmacy without a pharmacist is not really a pharmacy at all.
  • Community pharmacists are clinicians.
  • Supply and service belong together.
  • But change is inevitable and necessary.
  • There is a clear choice of future. 

Find out more about the NPA’s statement of Core Beliefs.


Author:  Thorrun Govind Community Pharmacist