Many independent contractors in England will be battling against the doom and gloom caused by the funding cut announcement while gearing up for the Christmas rush – a period that can be exhausting and nerve-shredding even during the good times. The more business-savvy pharmacists will be dusting themselves down and getting to grips with what the contractual changes mean for them and how they can adapt their business for tougher times ahead.

The new quality payments scheme, for example, will account for up to £6,400 of income next year, but this money has to be earned by reaching quality standards. Coalface Contractor Mukesh Lad discusses the significance of this scheme in a video on our website. Withering and Claire Ward discuss the sore throat ‘test and treat’ service, which all independents should adopt if they’re lucky enough for it to be commissioned locally.

Despite the enormous amount of positive publicity generated during the campaign against the cuts, much promotional work remains to be done, particularly at individual pharmacy level. It seems incredible that half the population still wouldn’t visit their pharmacy first for advice on minor conditions like coughs and colds. This must change. Exhausted and battle-weary pharmacists must keep promoting themselves and their services by consistently delivering at the highest level.

I hope that all our readers, when they close their pharmacy doors after a challenging day’s work on Christmas Eve, can reflect with some professional satisfaction on 2016 and look forward with a degree of hope to 2017.

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