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Home Truths MDS

Why Waste you Time and Money Servicing Nursing Homes

when you could earn more from other services?


How many of you are still serving Nursing Homes at a loss of money and time to your business?

Let’s go through the numbers and if you think we are wrong come back to us and we will look at your figures in detail, to see who is right.

Our calculations are as follows:

  • Take a 30 bed Nursing Home that is fully occupied and say each patient has on average 5 items a month, of which 3 are in blister packs, so you are dispensing 90 items using an MDS and 60 items as bulk.

  • Including ordering scripts from the surgery, collecting them from the surgery, checking that you have all the necessary scripts, chasing up those that are missing and the dispensing of the MDS and bulk items, we estimate (having done the job for many years) that this would take the equivalent of one dispenser 2 days i.e. 16 hours.

  • If you pay that dispenser £13 per hour, that will cost you £208 (this does not include employers NIC or holiday pay)

  • Then the finished items need to be checked. If done by a pharmacist, this will take about 5 hours. That is 2 minutes per item and includes any adjustments that have to be made etc.  It takes longer to check repackaged blisters as the expiry date and batch number needs to be confirmed.

  • So at £25 per hour, that is £125

  • The cost of the MDS will be approximately 50p per blister pack and say you use on average, two blister packs per item that is 180 blisters @50p is £90.

  • You then have the cost of the driver and his vehicle. Say this is an hour to collect all the scripts from the surgery – this may take several trips – and the delivery to the home plus any return visit for items out of stock on the first trip, you are probably talking about £60, at least.

  • Now if you are making approximately £2.16 per item - as per the PSNC calculations for funding, then you will receive £324 for the 150 items you have dispensed.

  • So £324 - £208 - £125 - £90 - £60 leaves a grand total of -£159 for all that hard work!!

  • Now this does not include all the phone calls you have to make to clarify queries both with the home and the surgery, nor all the deliveries you make during the month with just a couple of items because they are urgent or the patients scripts are out of sync or a new drug has been started. Nor the arguments with the home when they say you have received a script and you say you haven’t (Who always gives in?)

  • Worse still what if the nursing home is on 56 day scripts? Gross Profit drops to from £324 to £162!

  • Now some people will say “well the staff are standing around doing nothing” but surely to goodness you can find better things for them to do – NMSs will make you £28 a patient.

If you have never actually costed your service to nursing homes (or any other services you provide) now is the time to do it. Just download the spreadsheet we have produced and get  the staff to actually time their jobs and note how many phone calls, deliveries, lost scripts etc happen over  a 3 month period.

If nothing else you will begin to have a clear picture of what your actual costs are and whether it is a commercially viable service.

There is a great argument for “going the extra mile” to simply help people or to build business, but if enough of your core business is unprofitable, the rest of your business will suffer. Boots is now the “poor relation” in the Alliance Boots partnership so were they wise to take on so many unprofitable nursing home scripts over the years?

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