Now that I have retired from community pharmacy, The Pharmaceutical Journal’s splendid April issue gave me plenty of food for thought to attempt to predict the future of our profession over the next decade.
With a pharmacist in every GP surgery, surely the obvious place for medicines use reviews would be in the surgery pharmacist’s office? That way pharmacists will not be under so much pressure to meet targets under the watchful gaze of pharmacy managers.
With all prescriptions transmitted electronically, all repeat prescriptions will be dispensed by the national hubs and then sent directly to the patient’s home. The other 20% of acute or new medicines will be dispensed locally. Pharmacy contractors will be paid a capitation fee for each patient registered with them and they will be responsible for dealing with all the issues arising from the hub-dispensed prescriptions.
The owners of the national hubs will have their economies of scale taken into account by the NHS when assessing their remuneration and considerable funds will be saved.
Independent pharmacies will merge or be taken over and so the present haphazard distribution caused by historic leapfrogging (opening a pharmacy closer to a doctor’s surgery than the nearest pharmacy) and 100-hour pharmacies will be rationalised.
Sixth formers will realise that an annual salary of £30,000–£40,000 is not sufficient for the efforts of a five-year post A-level qualification or for the responsibility of the role of a community pharmacist, so applications will fall and schools will close. Hopefully this will allow salaries to rise.