Our head of customer development Dawn Williams takes a look at the challenges facing pharmacy operators in 2017, but says that there is support available from AAH.
Pharmacists are entering 2017 facing many changes and it could seem like there’s not much light at the end of the tunnel. The industry has been battered and bruised this year which means that we’re now operating in an environment fraught with new challenges.
The new funding package, outlined by the Department of Health in October, introduced the Quality Payment Scheme. This gives pharmacies a set of standards that they need to meet in order to receive different levels of funding. In principle, the idea of all pharmacies being remunerated based on their quality is a good one, however in reality this means that operators are effectively forced to navigate more systems and processes, potentially for less money.
We understand that the new requirements can be a bit confusing, and for a typical community pharmacist already under pressure, all they want to know is how they can maximise their level of funding. At AAH we recognise that our customers are busy, particularly around the festive period, and so we want to help them take back control.
Pharmacists should be free to be pharmacists. Their skills and clinical expertise can’t afford to be squandered or spread too thin by focusing on and worrying about these funding cuts. Many independent operators have to wear the hat of owner, manager and pharmacist – and from speaking to our customers, they just want life to be made easier for them.
Our free, online Quality Payment tool is designed to do just that.
It works by calculating the percentage of Quality Payment a pharmacy is eligible to receive based on its current compliance of the criteria outlined by the government. It then produces a tailored report highlighting what the pharmacy needs to do in order to meet the remaining quality criteria and maximise their level of funding.
It’s all about giving pharmacies some much needed time back and helping them to plan for their future in the face of the cuts. I spoke to one our Careway partners, Anika Shah about the challenges ahead and she told me:
“These cuts are a big threat to my business, so it’s imperative that I prepare and make sure I get the most out of what’s on offer.
“This is a time of change and uncertainty for pharmacy as a whole, so one of the challenges for an operator like me, is to understand exactly what’s required. This Quality Payment tool helps with that and means I can plan and implement any changes to make sure I secure as much funding as possible.”
As well as our AAH Quality Payment tool, in the New Year, we’ll be launching a new Careway module: Business Health Checks. This will provide customers with a set of proven business tools designed to help them grow their pharmacy business, and save money and time.
These are things that provide value for any pharmacy operator. For us, it’s very much a case of stronger together and we want to support pharmacies through this turbulent period.