The multi-layer approach

Pharmacists don’t have to deal with these issues alone

Gary Choo, head of information services at Numark, explains how pharmacists can get the help and support they need with HR and health and safety matters

With UK employment legislation growing dramatically over recent years, the regulatory burden on community pharmacy is more complex. This, in addition to an increasingly litigious society, means workers are now much more aware of their rights and aren’t afraid to exercise them.

However, recent research suggests business owners aren’t aware of these changes. One study revealed that only 37 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can demonstrate a clear understanding of employee rights and responsibilities. A further 12 per cent feel they have little to no understanding of employment regulations.*

Pharmacists’ lack of formal management training makes it difficult to deal with employment or health and safety matters, and most legal enquiries from Numark members are to do with staff issues.

The good news is that pharmacists don’t have to deal with these issues alone. There are partners out there that can offer guidance and support.

There is a long and often overwhelming list of things to bear in mind when recruiting and retaining staff. When seeking support, the key is to find a partner that has a thorough understanding of your pharmacy’s specific requirements and can work with you to develop value-adding solutions.

Numark offers Croner-i to all its members under its professional indemnity cover. This is an online platform that offers a range of useful HR advice and services, including training courses and legal representation.

From our experience, we know that pharmacies’ wants and needs differ when it comes to accessing information, as does the level of service they require. Therefore, it’s useful to have a multi-layered approach to offer face-to-face, online and telephone- based advice to suit individual requirements

When it comes to ensuring customers’ and employees’ well-being, nothing is more important than the appropriate health and safety procedures.

If proper risk assessments aren’t carried out, not only do independents leave themselves open to liability in the case of an accident, they also run the risk of jeopardising the future of their businesses.

Associated costs for these services can be very high. For example, a fire assessment can cost anything up to £1,000. So working with external partners that provide all these services as a single offering can significantly cut costs.

Delivering prescriptions is an invaluable part of successful independents’ businesses. But given that delivery drivers are effectively an extension of your own pharmacy and are responsible for delivering the right prescription to the right patient, they must operate to a high standard.

It’s crucial to bear this in mind when putting a strategy in place, to ensure that employee health and safety extends to delivery drivers, and that your service meets legal requirements.

Having support for all HR and health and safety requirements from qualified experts makes good business sense, whichever way you look at it. Numark’s approach in providing this cover from external partners ensures independents remain compliant with the most up-to-date regulations, as well as saving the time, money and hassle of having to resolve issues themselves.

With significant financial and possible regulatory changes on the horizon, it’s important that independents are aware of all the services that are available. As HR isn’t a profession that pharmacists are necessarily trained in, finding a partner that provides expert advice around the clock is invaluable. Equally, working with an organisation that offers a complete service package will give pharmacists more time to spend to protect and grow their core business.

* www.smeinsider.com/2016/07/14/smes- struggling-with-employment-law

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