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How Should Pharmacists and Independent Contractors React to the 6% Pharmacy Funding Cuts? (guest blog)

Pharmacistweb’s ‘the branch manager’ spoke to Brian Austen about the changes in pharmacy, he is a well-known business development & support for pharmacists. Brian has over 15-years experience as a senior manager working in general medical practices and pharmacy. In his role as a consultant, he has worked with Pharmacists and GPs throughout the UK to start-up new pharmacy businesses and develop the synergy that exists between pharmacy and general practice. Brian is the Owner/Director of the healthcare consultancy, EPOC Health Limited. Below are his thoughts on the need for a ‘strategy’ for everyone in pharmacy, including contractors and locums. Brian goes through some of his views to facing the challenges of the cuts.

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They need to plan for the cuts, which take effect in October. We have all heard the saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail”. Many contractors and pharmacists have no strategy, plan or vision and then cannot understand when events overtake them.


A good example of Pharmacists that have planned and in the process have secured their short to medium term future are those that are working in GP Practices as part of the Practice Pharmacist Scheme. I congratulate the Primary Care Pharmacists Association (PCPA) for the work they have done and continue to do in this area.


Locum Pharmacists, do you have a plan to compete with your fellow locums? You might consider competing by providing added value instead of competing on just price and allowances. Unfortunately, many of you will just wait and see what happens!


Contractors; do you have a business plan. This is an obvious time to make one if you haven’t already and review it if you have. Warning; make sure there are no unintended consequences to your business because of ill-considered cuts. There are ways of retaining staff and maintaining or even improving levels of service. You might wish to negotiate changes to the pay structure that are performance or productivity related and consider a more diverse retail offer and range of private services. Contractors should always look at ways of reducing their reliance on NHS income.

Now is the time to look at securing savings in all supplies and services you receive.

  1. You should regularly monitor these. Have strong financial controls and safeguards and produce regular forecasts of income and expenditure and cash flow.
  2. Complete a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). It’s not a modern and exciting methodology but its tried and tested and works. Beware of any business or sales literature that includes terminology such as ‘exciting’.
  3. Have a contingency plan in place.
  4. Maintain as much control over your future as you can through vision, strategy, planning and contingency. Don’t just let things happen to you!Don’t just let things happen to you!


If you would like to contact Brian Austen, please visit


or on LinkedIn



“time to look rethink the business plan”

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