In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, over two-thirds of the pharmacists think that their revenue in the next 12 months will decrease when compared to levels prior to lockdown, a new research has showed.

The research commissioned by Braemar Finance found that only 17 per cent of pharmacists think they will see an increase in revenue in the coming year with a further 13 per cent saying they don’t anticipate any difference.

A quarter of the pharmacists expect a fall in the range of 20-40 per cent while a fifth each predict a decline below 20 per cent and between 40 to 60 per cent.

Over eight in ten (83 per cent) pharmacies have made use of the government’s furlough scheme, found the the survey which canvassed the opinion of over 1200 senior members of the professions across the UK on a range of issues affecting their businesses.

Many pharmacists have also applied for at least one of the government funding schemes, or even a combination, as seen from the results:

CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) 69%
Grants 38%
Bounceback loans 44%
None of the above 5%

 

Besides the government support and advice, pharmacists are also looking at other ways to ensure they can keep their pharmacy viable, including new funding (47%), consolidation of loans (49%) and payment holidays ( 34%).

Bank/funder loans are, by some distance, the primary source of finance for 45 per cent of pharmacists, followed by government grants (23 per cent) and savings (22 per cent).

Over a third of pharmacists feel that it will take between three to six months to turn their business fully operational again, while 22 per cent said it will only take them up to three months to return their previous business operation level.

Importantly, more pharmacists expect to expand than contract in the coming year (20 per cent v 14 per cent), while 65 per cent think the business will be ‘staying the same’. Two per cent said they might close down altogether.

A fifth of pharmacies expect to operate with fewer staff in future while 11 per cent will be employing more staff. The majority (70 per cent) say they’ll return with the same number.

In common with many other sectors and professions, pharmacists’ funding priorities have seen a necessitated shift towards, for example, re-fits  and PPE; however, the need to invest in equipment remains high on the list.

IT 56%
Equipment 50%
PPE 44%
Cashflow 40%
Hiring new staff 23%
Re-fit 24%
None of the above 1%

 

Nearly all pharmacists feel their professional body has done a good during the pandemic (29 per cent ‘very supported; 66 per cent ‘somewhat supported’). Just five per cent have felt ‘let down’.

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