WA Pharmacy Forum Wrap Up- PART ONE


Last week, the Peak Strategies team once again attended the highlight of the WA pharmacy calendar, The Forum. It is an event we have been a part of for years and will continue to support. We enjoy the networking, meeting new people and learning as much as we can about this industry we love so much.

Fun Fact! We only seem to go to pharmacy conferences and never to go accounting ones.

Due to our extensive note taking will share our recap of the event over two posts. So, here is our wrap of the 2018 Pharmacy Forum, Day One.

Zero to Hero – Educating for Certainty and Training for Uncertainty

The Forum started off with Guest Speaker Corporate Mark Donaldson VC. In September 2008, Mark made a split-second decision to save another soldier in the valley of Eastern Afghanistan. He knows how crucial effective communication is the key to success in making plans and what makes a good team. Leaders need to be agile in their decision making and it is important to be resilient in the planning and implementation phases of an operation.

What we learnt from this session:

  • Inter-personal support is important. Values that family comes first and that should be the same as your work family. You spend majority of your time at work, so your colleagues would know you the best - both good and bad. What does family mean to you? What is your work family like? When we need help, we always seek internally before looking for outside help. Can you do the same in your team?
  • Everyone has choices – Be a victim or become a product. Others blame others for what has happened (i.e. I could have done this if this didn’t happen). You have a gift so use it to become better and stronger. Inspire others in life. You can only do this if it is something you want so to find what drives you or what is your purpose for doing things.
  • When we are used to a certain behaviour, we go on autopilot and not used to changing the way you do things or think.
  • Work on mental attitude – If you are not prepared for the long haul, you will have difficulties.
  • Teamwork – Regardless of what happens, you would have done it anyways. Have rules in place but understand consequences happen if you break them (i.e. didn’t wait for team members to be ready and things went wrong).
  • Plan a little each day. It will add up and you won’t be doing catch ups.
  • Your behaviour sets a licence for others to follow. As a leader or team member, your responsibility is to be an enabler to those around you.

Pharmacy in the WA Health Landscape

An address from the Deputy WA Premier, Minister for Health and Mental Health, the Hon. Roger Cook MLA talks about the future of community pharmacy in WA .

The Minister was unfortunately unable to attend The Forum and a video was shown for a few minutes in which he gave a quick speech about assisting pharmacies in providing better health services and outcomes to the community.

Key points from the session:

  • Working on providing more authority to the Pharmacy board to give effective mandates for community pharmacies to act locally and provide high quality care for a stronger health system.
  • The King Review was an opportunity to provide better service and practices however, this was pushed back (timing wise) and resulted in the review being of no substance.
  • 138,000 WA people visit a pharmacy each week, so community pharmacy can look after these people and provide better health care.

President’s Panel – Lessons learnt: How Guild History Can Inform our Future

This was a rundown of how the Pharmacy Guild has played a role in shaping how community pharmacy operates.

Key points from this session:

  • Ownership rules have been important to the Guild when Woolworths wanted to own a pharmacy. Due to back room discussions, this did not go ahead and there is a firm rule that a pharmacy can only be owned by a pharmacist.
  • Advocacy Vs Silence – Guild has always wanted to stop corporate ownership of a pharmacy (i.e. Ramsays 10 year fight). Pharmacy can only be owned by a pharmacist. Threat of ownership has been around for a long time (90 years) and won’t go away. Guild wants to strengthen ownership rules and the current government has assisted the Guild. WA’s branch is very strong and has not let its standards slip compared to other states and continues to have a pharmacy owned by a pharmacist and no corporate. Overseas pharmacies are in awe of our ownership laws. Advocacy isn’t about being on the front page but the behind the scenes and implementation.
  • Negotiation Vs Demand – Stopping deregulation and looking at the location rules.
  • Value Vs Cost – Data is available to help with agreements especially when it comes to remuneration. 7CPA will need accurate data to be economically beneficial. Can’t stay in the same model going forward and need to adapt to changes especially the practice for all health practitioners. We need to embrace technology.
  • Evolution Vs Revolution – We need to stay united during negotiations.

7CPA Interactive Session

The Guild explained in the next eighteen months how we can expect both a Federal election and commencement of a new Community Pharmacy Agreement. This session allowed attendees to have their say in relation to the Guild’s strategy to tackle these matters.

Key points from the session:

  • PBS Expenditure is reducing due to the Price Disclosure Measures and is anticipated from continue to fall from 2019 to 2022.
  • Reduced PBS Expenditure despite new PBS listings, meaning no new investment is being made in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Ongoing Price Disclosure measure will continue to make an impact, though most of the damage has already taken place.
  • Price Disclosure is here to stay, though in comparison, overseas countries it is worse.
  • Continued effort is being made into the Special Pricing Arrangement Reforms with several options on the table.
  • The Guild is continuing to ensure the major banks are being briefed and updated to reduce uncertainty and ensure the pharmacy health finance sector remains viable.
  • The Guild is strongly encouraging pharmacy owners use the tools available on their website for their ongoing planning and forecasting. Particularly the Scriptmap 2020 and the Opportunity Analysis Tool. Scriptmap 2020 is a very useful financial forecasting tool to help owners understand the impacts on Gross Profits out to 2020. The Opportunity Analysis tool is designed to help pharmacy owners understand the income potential from 6CPA funded programs, fixed 3rd party income, prescription and medication programs and screening and testing services. According the Pharmacy Guild Website, the average pharmacy is missing out on an additional $20,000 to $25,000 income.
  • Location Rules – sunset clause has been removed. Some changes will be made to the location rules, which are still being negotiated particularly regarding shopping centres and problems associated with non-PBS/ministerial discretion approvals.

Actual to Ideal – Developing Cultures and Delivering Revenue

The final session for Thursday was presented by WA business consultant Jeff Austin who owns the consultancy firm Actual to Ideal. Jeff discussed in detail how to drive revenue while instilling a customer centric culture in your business. A very insightful session and some of the details we were able to take away to implement here at Peak Strategies.

Key points from the session:

  • Lead with questions – not answers

- You get to know what they know
- you help them know what they know
- once you (and they) know what they know, you can then fix it by – training – tweaking – trusting (delegation)

  • Don’t negotiate the non-negotiable

- avoid spending time on non-negotiables (e.g. paperwork/record keeping)
- encourage your staff to spend their time and energy on things that can be changed and improved

  • Think “Help” not “Sell”

- get staff to develop the help mindset – they will feel more comfortable when dealing with customers when they think they are helping the customer, not forcefully selling a product
- customer felt less pressure
- result is increase in staff fulfillment and less customer price focus – customer centric culture developed

  • Get into a habit of appraising people when they do things right – positive reinforcement (instead of casting blame when they do things wrong). 

Thursday was a great day with many information packed sessions. 

What did we learn from Thursday: 

We all have our issues, worries, anxieties and problems. Furthermore, we are all fighting our own battles. But the difference between the successful (however you define that) and the not so successful, is they just get on with it, take a risk and give things a go. Be proactive not reactive. Far too many pharmacies are reactive, waiting on others for their own success.

Stayed tuned for Day Two.