Pharmacist condemns lack of support from West Herts Primary Care Trust
ONE year after he first raised concerns about the lack of support from a health trust, a community pharmacist says nothing has changed. Graham Phillips, who owns the Manor Pharmacy Group which has shops in Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Radlett as well as
ONE year after he first raised concerns about the lack of support from a health trust, a community pharmacist says nothing has changed.
Graham Phillips, who owns the Manor Pharmacy Group which has shops in Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Radlett as well as other parts of the county, believes that the poor showing by the West Herts Primary Care Trust (PCT) in recent Care Quality ratings proves his point.
The PCT failed to improve on last year's ratings and was given a double score of "fair" with failures in several areas of compliance including Chlamydia screening and stroke care.
Graham feels that the work carried out by community pharmacists is not supported well enough by the PCT which should be held to account for its failure to do so.
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He is still experiencing problems over slow payment for services provided at his pharmacies despite it being government policy that small businesses should be paid promptly.
That has resulted in a frustratingly large number of emails, letters and phone calls to the PCT, many of which have not been answered.
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He is not alone in suffering problems with payment - he has evidence that fellow pharmacists are waiting for payment for providing swine flu vaccination services
Graham is also concerned about PCT delays in issuing e-mail addresses so that diagnostic findings from pharmacies can easily be passed on to GP practices to go into patient notes.
He is not anti-PCTs - he was a founder member of the Harpenden Primary Care Group (PCG) which preceded the setting up of PCTs - and spend hours of his time working with the new PCT when it was formed.
But he is scathing about it now and believes that only a complete change of personnel can rectify the problem.
He said: "Essentially they have a group of senior managers in the PCT and they move the deckchairs every so often. It needs a complete sweep to sort the whole thing out."
He added: "PCTs generally are struggling but these people are absolutely spectacular and it is not just me saying it."
A spokesperson for the PCT maintained that they had a "very good relationship" with their community pharmacists from whom they commissioned a wide range of health services including how to give up smoking and expert advice on medicines.
She particularly praised how supportive they had been during the current swine flu pandemic by acting as an anti-viral collection points for Tamiflu distribution.
She went on: "The PCT holds regular evening meetings with our community pharmacists to keep them informed of new developments and to also provide an opportunity for community pharmacists to resolve queries with the PCT."
The spokesperson, who said that they were currently setting up NHS email addresses for the approximately 240 community pharmacists in Herts in a phased manner, said they took every opportunity to promote and encourage people to use the services on offer from community pharmacies.