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Pharmacy Business Conference 2024: Many agree ‘the future for community pharmacy is positive’


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Community pharmacy at this time is underpaid, stretched, uncertain, dying, chaotic, unappreciated, or overworked.

Despite the challenges confronting pharmacy owners and their teams today, many in the industry hold the belief that the future for community pharmacy is promising.

In a poll conducted at the beginning of the Pharmacy Business Conference 2024, 58 per cent of participants agreed that the future of community pharmacy is positive, with 13 per cent expressing strong agreement.

However, 27 per cent expressed disagreement, with 3 per cent strongly disagreeing that the sector’s future is optimistic.

By the end of the conference, a higher percentage of individuals (67 per cent) showed a positive outlook for community pharmacy, with over half indicating strong agreement with its positivity. The number of participants who disagreed with it decreased to 11 percent.

The Pharmacy Business Conference 2024, held at the Hilton London Wembley on Sunday, 28 April, had around 200 attendees, including industry leaders and community pharmacy owners.

In line with the conference theme “Pharmacy of Tomorrow,” speakers emphasised the need for community pharmacies to adapt to new ways of working and adopt new services to achieve sustainability.

Attendees engaged in an interactive table workshop, facilitated through the Slido app, where they shared their thoughts on the implications of the conference learnings. Michael Holden, Associate Director at Pharmacy Complete, moderated this interactive session.

The participants were asked to describe community pharmacy in a word – the answers included Pressurised, Underpaid, Stretched, Exhausting, Scary, Uncertain, Dying, Grim, Struggling, Chaotic, Unappreciated, Overwhelming, Challenging, Overworked, Busy, Challenged, and Victim.

However, positive words like Support, Clinical, Evolving, Change, Crossroads, Exciting, Opportunity, Active, Impactful, Services, Growth, Technology, Accessible, and Interaction were also used to represent community pharmacy at this time.

After attending the conference, many participants expressed their intention to leverage new technologies in pharmacy, such as artificial intelligence (AI), Google Search and Titan PMR, or make better use of digital technology to achieve business growth.

Some participants expressed their plans to add Pharmacy First service, explore SEO to boost visibility and sustainability, and upskill their pharmacy team to boost their business.

To complete their new actions, the participants highlighted the need for training on getting on with new technologies, better funding and workforce, and proper reimbursement of all services.

Several others indicated that transparency, collaboration, and risk-sharing among the pharmacy teams and the NHS are essential to improve the future of community pharmacy.







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