Our Reporter, Jenny, visited the Pharmacy in Hinchley Wood, and spoke to Pharmacists Jay and Janvi Raval – the father and daughter team who own this much used and respected Pharmacy.
Q. I understand this has been a Pharmacy for many years. When did you start the business?
A. Jay – This has been a Pharmacy since the 1930’s and we started here 17 years ago. We expanded and refurbished the shop three years ago to include a Consultation Room. Janvi joined me when she qualified as a Pharmacist in 2011. During our original building works, we were fascinated to see three older shop front signs. We have customers who tell us stories about Mr. Wallis Jones and our current Landlady, his daughter.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in prescription and OTC (over the counter) medicines and which is your most popular OTC medicine?
A. The biggest change has been the constant increase in prescription price per item charged by NHS England. This is a fixed sum the NHS automatically deducts at the end of the month when the prescriptions are submitted. This has led to some OTC medicines being cheaper to buy rather than getting on prescription. We always advise our customers when this is the case. Our most popular OTC medicine is Paracetomol.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being Pharmacists?
A. We enjoy sharing our knowledge to help people and, in doing so, provide a service and form trusting relationships with our customers. We really appreciate being part of and supporting the local community in Hinchley Wood. Jay – I have been here many years, which has allowed me to integrate with the community and see the generations grow up.
Q. How many years does it take to become a Pharmacist?
A. All Pharmacists train for 5 years in the use of medicines and in managing minor illnesses and providing health and well-being advice. Janvi trained at Reading University and Jay at Sunderland University. The training continues on a regular basis. Every year Pharmacists undertake online courses to update skills and qualify to administer flu and travel vaccinations etc.
Q. How has Government policy changed regarding the use of local Pharmacies?
A. A new Contract has just been released for all Pharmacies, whereby we are expected to provide more clinical services rather than just dispense prescriptions. However, from time immemorial, it has been the custom for patients to come to the Pharmacy for advice. Jay – I remember making up cough mixtures and creams for patients! We are no longer authorised to do this, and usually refer back to Doctors if OTC medicines are not available.
We have been selected by NHS England – one of 20 Pharmacies in the county – to provide a free screening service to check for undiagnosed heart conditions. This is free for over 35’s with currently undiagnosed high blood pressure. To date we have identified three cases where the customer was unaware of an undetected heart condition. (Reporter’s Note: I took the test which takes 30 seconds and involves putting two fingers on a small “pad” which relays the results to the Pharmacist’s iphone. Quick and easy!)
Q. What other services does Wallis Jones supply?
A. We are an established Travel Health Clinic and Yellow Fever Centre, and provide vaccines, travel health advice and malaria tablets. Every year we give free flu vaccines to “at risk” patients and a private service to people not entitled to a free flu vaccination. We offer a variety of other services, including Passport photos and a Private Health Check, i.e. checking blood pressure; blood sugar; cholesterol levels and general health advice.
Q. What do people worry about most regarding their health?
A. Having a sufficient supply of medicines to cover Bank Holidays etc.!
Jay and Janvi attribute their survival as a local, independent Pharmacy (in competition with supermarkets and large national pharmaceutical stores) to the hard work, dedication and loyalty of their staff and the goodwill of their customers. Patient confidentiality is paramount and a Consultation Room is available in-store if required. There are usually two Pharmacists on duty, and customers rarely have to wait for the prescription “because the Pharmacist is not available – or at lunch!”
Wallis Jones Pharmacy, 6 Manor Road North, Hinchley Wood, KT10 0SH. Tel: 020 8398 2494
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 to 6.00 Saturday 9.00 to 1.00