Kevin Harrall at Pharmacy Sales & Consultancy gives an overview of the latest regulatory developments for the Pharmacy sector.
Published: 31 March 2022
James: Hi Kevin, great to see you again and thank you for taking part in this series of interviews. As you know we have had thoughts from Jenny Scott at Lloyds on how she see the funding situation for pharmacy business at the moment and I have spoken with Tony Evans from Christie & Co and Scott Hayden from Hutchings on how they see the agency side developing. I know that your company PSC has a pharmacy sales agency but that you also offer invaluable advice in regulatory matters and it’s on this area that I would like to focus today. You hold a special position of being a qualified pharmacist and a regulatory adviser. The last two years have been dramatic in a number of ways and we’ve seen a somewhat piecemeal set of measures introduced to cope with the pandemic. Do you see any major changes on the horizon for 2022?
Kevin: Thanks James, yes you are right, we do have a thriving agency business , and yes, the last two years have been unprecedented. We’ve seen an emergency set of funding measures and Covid related tweaks to the regulations. Whilst there was a disruptive delay in getting clarity on how extra payments were to be clawed back, I think we are now in a more settled time, and I don’t anticipate any significant changes to the NHS market entry regulations this year.
James: That’s interesting, but surely after the last 24 months there is going to be some fallout in the sector?
Kevin: Yes, you are correct, and one of the key challenges that emerged over the last 24 months was staffing shortages and I don’t think that this is going to change in the foreseeable future. What we’ve seen is pharmacy owners, both large and small operators, struggling to get pharmacy cover.
As a result of this I think we will see more consolidations of contracts as competing pharmacies look to how they will continue to offer an expanding range of services against the backdrop of pharmacist recruitment challenges.
As well as consolidations the forthcoming hub and spoke regulations are also likely to give hard pressed pharmacists some pressure relief by taking dispensing volumes out of some pharmacies
James: Thank you Kevin, we’ve seen some challenges to the traditional high street, will pharmacies be affected?
Kevin: That’s interesting because I think that one of the consequences of the funding for vaccination programmes is that it has given pharmacists the opportunity to invest in improvements to their existing premises and to allow them to consider what investment opportunities are open to them in terms of relocating to better premises.
James: Yes, we are already seeing this trend start to emerge. As I said earlier you hold a unique position as being a qualified pharmacist and an expert adviser on regulatory matters. If I could give you one wish for change in the way pharmacies are regulated what would it be?
Kevin: Well that’s an easy one, and it has to be for the consolidation regulations to be amended to allow straightforward mergers between 40 hour and 100 hour pharmacies. This would reduce opening hours but would help hugely in dealing with some of the workforce issues I highlighted earlier.
James: Ok, in my role as fairy godfather, I can give you that wish and let’s catch up later in the year to see if it comes true. Thank you.
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