Thursday, August 31, 2006

Here we go...

I’m very nervous this week since I’m going back into community pharmacy practice after a number of years of pursuing other avenues of pharmacy. Since the introduction of the new pharmacy contract I have really fancied going back into practice since the new contract does, in theory, give me the opportunity to be a ‘real’ community pharmacist with a greater clinical role and chance for patient interaction. I didn’t go to college to stand in a dispensary and count tablets all day – so have things changed in the past few years and is working under the new contract any different?

Well the community pharmacy I’m working in is perhaps already a step ahead (which is why I chose it!) with the bulk of the space being taken up by a large dispensary, a supervised methadone area, consultation room, and a seating area for patients while they wait for their scripts to be dispensed. It is a very professional looking pharmacy after a recent refit. It is also an extremely busy dispensary where I will be the second pharmacist, supported by one recently qualified checking technician, and at least four other very experienced dispensary staff.

The pharmacy is part of a local minor ailments scheme, runs a collection and daily delivery service, and provides numerous dosette boxes to suitable patients in the community. One of the pharmacy staff deals with all the deliveries so that we can communicate effectively with patients in the community – one patient who gets a weekly delivery of her medication in a dosette box regularly tells us that ‘Without us she’d be dead’….

The pharmacy is ready for repeat dispensing but as in many other areas can’t persuade the local GPs that it’s a worthwhile thing for them. The local GPs are apparently so bogged down with their own agenda (not least PBC) that they can’t be persuaded to get involved in yet another new venture (even though the long term benefits of repeat dispensing would be great for them).