Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Monday, November 2, 1998 Published at 14:03 GMT


Health

Over-the-counter massage

Physiotherapy could soon be available at chemists

Chemists are likely to start offering customers massage, cholesterol checks and counselling in a bid to survive intense competition from superstores, according to new research.

Retail consultants Verdict has found high street retailers are being forced to revamp their trading strategies as the public is increasingly buying cosmetics, toiletries and over-the-counter medicines from superstores.

The Verdict report notes that superstores' share of the market has risen by 5.9% over the last five years, and that they now command almost as much of the market as the health and beauty specialists.

Verdict predicts: "a store selling herbal remedies alongside conventional drugs and treatments, offering services such as counselling, vaccinations, massage and reflexology, with a beauty centre...is a likely blueprint for the future."

The research found that pharmacies and beauty retailers are being forced to branch out and place greater emphasis on becoming all-round service centres.

They are also increasingly introducing products and services to attract custom from people keen to stay healthy, rather than just from those who are sick.

For example, chemists are increasingly moving towards primary healthcare provision and in-house consultation.

Close link with GPs


[ image: Chemists are diversifying]
Chemists are diversifying
Lloyds pharmacy and Moss Chemists are cited as examples of stores which are exploiting their geography and proximity to surgeries in order to be much more involved in healthcare and offering routine advice on treatments.

The move to offer more treatment consultations is helping to relieve pressure on hard pressed GPs, the report says.

The report forecasts the development of a one-stop shop which caters for the healthy and the sick, which would include a pharmacy, optician and dentist and provide treatments like acupuncture, aromatherapy and massage.

Boots is at the forefront of this, with the company already enjoying strong growth of its opticians business and recently announcing the introduction of in-store dentists.

But the report argues that, despite such changes, there are too many pharmacies, saying fewer would be more commercially viable, and advocates a reduction from the existing 12,236 to 9,000.

GPs should be involved

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a member of the British Medical Association's GP prescribing sub-committee, welcomed the fact that pharmacists were helping to reduce workload pressures on GPs.

His surgery in Stanmore, Middlesex, had been grateful for an initiative launched by a local pharmacy to teach patients how to use asthma inhalers.

But Dr Nagpaul said: "We need to ensure there is proper development of pharmacy services with all interested parties, including GPs.

"Sometimes patients do not understand the advice given to them by pharmacists, and the GP is asked to pick up the pieces."

Dr Nagpaul also called for tighter regulation of supermarket pharmacy services. He said supermarket patients were not always guaranteed the privacy and expert advice they received in specialist high street pharmacies.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

24 Jul 98 | Health
Judge dispenses misery for chemists

30 Jun 98 | Health
Pharmacists to play a bigger role





Internet Links


British Medical Association

Verdict

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99