Oliver Kearney talks about his branch of LloydsPharmacy in Manchester…
How would you describe your pharmacy?
LloydsPharmacy MacDonald Road branch in Irlam is a busy pharmacy that has a strong bond with the community – we have known a great number of our patients for many years.
We are a team of 15 highly skilled professionals, offering a large range of pharmacy and advanced services to meet the healthcare needs of local residents. In 2013/2014 we vaccinated 600 people against flu through our Flu Vaccination service.
We are an innovative and forward-thinking pharmacy and are currently involved in the NHS Health Check pilot.
What is your advice on being a good pharmacist and running a good pharmacy?
A key piece of advice is to know your patients well. Get to know the issues they face and understand their needs.
You may need perseverance, but by really knowing your patients you can prepare and provide them with the service and advice they require.
In terms of running a pharmacy, effective time management is also a must. Pharmacy is busy. You need to have a clear focus for yourself both as a pharmacist and as a manager, which needs to be passed on to your team. Being able to manage time means you can provide for all – colleagues and the patient.
How much do your sales depend on season and weather?
Naturally there are spikes through the year. When it is hayfever or cough and colds season or when its coming up to holidays and people require double prescriptions.
It’s all part of healthcare pharmacy. However, saying that people aren’t so seasonal now. It goes back to anticipating your patient’s needs and ensuring you meet them at all times.
What part of the business is most challenging?
There are always challenges in any business. The ability to react to change is a challenge and you need to ensure you are equipped to handle them. It’s critical to be prepared.
To be efficient and effective as a business it’s imperative that you are able to plan and react swiftly and seamlessly.
Do you get customers asking for products they have seen on TV which you know nothing about?
Rarely. When a patient comes into the pharmacy and does ask for a particular product we spend time with them asking about their symptoms so we can ensure they have the right product for their ailment when required.
If you were to give up pharmacy tomorrow, what would you do?
I’d become a fishing guide in Canada. But in all seriousness I would still be in the healthcare industry.
What is your view on funding and the role of the PSNC?
The PSNC has the interest of pharmacists at its heart and understands the pressures we face. In terms of funding, budgets are increasingly under pressure and there’s a focus on value for money – which I’m completely behind.