Blogs are not edited by PJ staff*. The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Pharmaceutical Journal.
*Blog pieces that have previously been printed in the PJ and Clinical Pharmacist are edited.
By Benedict Lam
Recently a cold bug has been going around our office and, one by one, members of the PJ team have fallen ill. I was the latest victim.
Due to a previous episode of a sore throat which turned out be an excruciating bout of tonsillitis (which resulted in a hospital admission), I decided that I was going to take no chances when I woke up with an extremely sore throat. I booked an appointment to see my GP.
The nearest pharmacy adjacent to the surgery, which has been run by a multiple for several years, has been closed for several weeks. Although the GP wasn't entirely sure why it had closed down, he speculated that it was because of the high rent and because the local population who use the surgery are generally young and fit people, so there were few patients who require long-term repeat medicines.
It is not often I see or hear about pharmacies closing down and am sure the decision to close down would not have been taken lightly. No matter how quiet the pharmacy was, it would surely have had its share of loyal and local customers, and some patients must have got their repeat medicines from that pharmacy. The GP said that some patients have been writing to other multiples asking them to open a new branch. (His suggestion that this was a business opportunity for me quickly fled when I learnt how high the rent was.)
When I heard this I couldn't help but think how treasured and valued pharmacies are in any community. It may sound obvious but, let us face it, we all need to be reminded now and again how valued and needed we are, wherever we work. Just the other weekend I had a particularly stressful day in the pharmacy where I work part-time (the usual: lack of experienced staff, long queues, telephone constantly ringing, and demanding customers). I survived (pharmacists always do) but did think why do I bother sometimes. This conversation with the GP has helped reiterate why community pharmacies and pharmacists are an indispensible part of our communities.
It is nice to know that we will be missed if we suddenly disappeared.