Gareth Jones talks to Pharmacy Business about his business, Murray’s Pharmacy, in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria…

How would you describe your pharmacy?
A traditional ‘community pharmacy’ located in a residential suburb offering a full range of advanced and enhanced NHS services. The pharmacy occupies bright modern premises offering all the facilities you would expect of a modern pharmacy incorporating a fully fitted consultation room which allows the pharmacy to provide a wide range of additional services.

How long have you been a pharmacist?
Five years.

Describe the area your pharmacy is in
Ormsgill is an estate of mixed private and local authority council housing in an area considered to be one of Barrow’s most deprived wards.

What is the best and worst things about being a pharmacist?
Best: The ability to ‘make a difference’ to people’s lives by improving health.
Worst: Having to juggle many conflicting demands to ensure that we meet customers’ expectations.

Are pharmacists valued as healthcare professionals?
YES! We have a very loyal following amongst our customers and patients that really value the service we provide and the access to healthcare advice within the community. We also have fantastic links with our local surgeries, health visitors, community nurses and the local CCG.

What is your advice on being a good pharmacist and running a good pharmacy?
Treat people as you would expect to be treated yourself. Make the most of your team and their skill mix.

How much do your sales depend on seasons and weather?
We offer a very successful private weight management programme and see seasonal peaks at Christmas/New Year and in the summer. Other seasonal trends include winter ailments (cough and cold preparations) and hay fever products and sunscreen in the summer.

What is your view on funding and the role of the PSNC?
I believer that they have a very difficult task; however, it appears that negotiations take too long.

What part of the business is the most challenging to work in?
Staff management – trying to keep the team motivated.

Do you ever get customers asking for products they have seen on TV that you know nothing about?
Not really – we stock a fairly narrow range of OTC medicines as most of our sales are by recommendation. The high price point of many of the ‘new’ products means that they aren’t really that popular in our location.

If you were to give up pharmacy tomorrow, what would you do?
Teaching – as I’ve always enjoyed passing on my knowledge and inspiring others to learn.

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