Core Belief: Supply and service belong together

The link between supply and service is our history and our future. This link is a crucial element of the established, trusted service model of community pharmacy – namely convenient, face-to-face care from health care professionals, locally responsive and community based.

Mark Burdon has been a practicing pharmacist since 1999, and a committee member of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee since 2006. In addition to running a group of five pharmacies in the north east of England, Mark is a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and has recently been appointed Treasurer of the World Pharmacy Council. There have been attempts recently to break the link between service and supply; facilitated primarily by the ill-conceived “hub and spoke” consultation. Large automated warehouse dispensing is thought to be more efficient (i.e cheaper) than dispensing in community pharmacies, yet no evidence of the economic benefits has been put forward. Neither has the effect on patient safety been properly assessed. Despite this, the government proposals predicted that half of all medicines could be supplied in this way Promoted as a capacity releasing measure, this transformation is said to make community pharmacy more clinical, by removing the pharmacist from dispensing. Proposals to remove the requirement for pharmacist supervision of dispensing will supposedly allow pharmacists to leave the premises to perform these (yet unspecified) clinical tasks. Meetings of the so-called ‘Rebalancing Board’ have been discussing just this. Others may think this is all new. It is not.…