Ready for the future

Our managing director Cormac Tobin sets out his vision for 2017, a year in which the world of healthcare faces considerable change.

My overriding memory of 2016 will in truth be bitter-sweet. Community pharmacy has been well and truly beaten up in the last twelve months, but despite the collective frustration of our sector, we have plenty to be proud of.

It’s particularly reassuring to get the backing of the general public, with over 2 million people signing a petition against the pharmacy funding cuts. The fact that so many of our customers were stirred by this issue shows just how important pharmacy services are to the communities they serve. The true value of pharmacy is in the close relationships that patients have with their pharmacist, and the accessibility of their expert care. It was great to see so much passion and support for our industry throughout these challenges.

Unfortunately, despite a groundswell of support, the funding cuts were officially imposed toward the end of the year. On this occasion we may have lost the battle, but if you’ll excuse the fighting talk, I’m confident we will win the war.

A new payment scheme for pharmacy funding, based around quality, has brought with it fresh impetus and renewed motivation to secure a positive future for pharmacy. The reality is that under the new scheme, we will have to do more for less, so as an industry we will need to stay positive and rely once again on our famed passion and resilience.

From a Celesio UK perspective, 2016 has been another momentous year. We’ve welcomed over 4,000 new colleagues into our family as a result of our exciting acquisitions and we’ve strengthened our position as a trusted NHS partner. There are new faces on our Celesio UK board, which is now evenly represented by males and females, and we’re all united in our vision for the future.

We are a strong, traditional business, and we must continue to develop compelling patient and customer relationships through our dynamic end-to-end healthcare propositions and supply chain. This means we must also embrace innovation, whether that’s reinventing the role of community pharmacy, becoming an omni-channel business or revolutionising off-site dispensing. Our world is becoming increasingly digitalised so we’re investing in these platforms and attracting talent which possesses the skills that enable us to fulfil our customers’ desires and expectations.

As I’ve always said, our business is only as strong as the passionate and inspired colleagues that work for us. We have almost 25,000 employees across a number of healthcare brands, whose passion for the customer and expertise will ensure that we continue to grow and be successful in the future.

I’m really excited to see what the next twelve months brings, so here’s to 2017!

I wish you all the best for a successful and happy year.