Top 10 Local Partners for Pharmacies
Community pharmacies play a vital role in providing healthcare services to local communities. By enhancing your offerings and providing a holistic healthcare experience, partnering with local businesses and organisations can be game-changing.

Partnerships not only help you as a pharmacy expand your services and products, but creates a lot of goodwill within the business community. In this article, we explore the top 10 Community Pharmacy Partners. These partnerships can boost patient engagement, increase clinic bookings, and strengthen commercial relationships.

Can you do all these overnight? No.

Will they be applicable to every Community Pharmacy? No.

Should you start building relationships today? Absolutely.

To reiterate, it’s super important to build long-lasting, credible relationships with the businesses and institutions around you. Schedule one day a month out of the pharmacy to go out and meet some of them face-to-face. Take them some leaflets or chocolates, and charm them while you explain what services you can offer them.

Don’t have time? Send them your dispenser or ACT. Don’t ignore it and push it to the back of the agenda. Because building relationships is part of building a strong, long-lasting business.

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1. Fitness Centres and Gyms

Partnering with fitness centres and gyms can promote a holistic approach to health and wellness. Community pharmacies can offer health screenings, nutritional consultations, and even exercise classes to encourage healthy lifestyles amongst their customers.

2. Care Homes and Retirement Communities

Pharmacies can build strong relationships with care homes and retirement communities to cater to the unique needs of older adults. Services such as medication management, health education workshops, and home delivery options can enhance the well-being of this population.

3. Schools and Colleges

I can think of multiple successful examples of pharmacies partnering with multiple educational facilities, whether that’s schools, colleges or universities. Specialised event days for students conducting health screenings, providing immunisations, and offering educational sessions on topics such as safe sex, mental health awareness and basic first aid are great ways to build a relationship and awareness of you as a healthcare institution.

4. Third Sector Organisations

Partnering with local charities and foundations creates opportunities for community outreach programs. Pharmacies can provide medication counselling to underserved populations, and contribute to community wellness initiatives.

5. Local Businesses and Employers

I don’t know who’s on your individual high streets. But you do. There’ll undoubtedly be some that make more sense than others. But these lead to opportunities you wouldn’t ordinarily see in a day-to-day pharmacy. Pharmacies can offer on-site health screenings, flu vaccination drives, and educational workshops to promote a healthy workforce.

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6. Voluntary Support Groups

Joining forces with voluntary support groups that focus on specific health conditions or patient communities improves patient support and engagement. Pharmacies offer specialised services, educational resources, and tailored support to individuals and families affected by those conditions.

7. Mental Health Clinics and Counsellors

Addressing mental health needs is crucial in community healthcare. Partnering with mental health clinics and counsellors enables pharmacies to outsource counselling services, mental health screenings, and referrals to specialised care. When referring to them, it’s more than likely you’ll receive referrals back the other way.

8. Local Support Groups

Collaborating with local support groups, such as those for chronic illnesses or specific conditions, enhances patient support and engagement. As a pharmacy you can even organise support group meetings and offer educational resources.

9. Dentists, GP’s and other Local Health Institutions

Collaborating with dentists allows you to expand your healthcare offerings. Referring people to the dentist for oral hygiene issues might be something you already do, and so picking up the phone to your local dental surgery and organising a more formal arrangement is a logical next step. Perhaps the partnership only extends to having a more streamlined referral process, but if that improves the patient experience, it’s you who’ll get the reputational benefit and word of mouth will spread about how a visit to the pharmacy was a great first port of call.

The same goes with your local GP surgeries, chiropractors, herbalist and the like.

10. Local Sports Clubs

Sport usually comes hand in hand with community. Be it the village cricket team, a youth football team, or a local tennis club, there’s usually an opportunity for a partnership with some sporting association in every community. Either through sponsorship, first aid kit donations, or a dedicated service and/or products for sports injuries, there’s an opportunity to explore how a partnership could work for you.

Even in a minimum returns scenario, supporting the local sports initiatives is good press for your local reputation.

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6 unusual pharmacy partners
Making partnerships in your community is a great way of increasing your community presence and growing your business.

The reality when looking for pharmacy partners, is that striking up relationships with any business in your community is possible. Whilst partnering with the local GP surgery goes without saying, there are other partnerships with natural two-way referrals that often go unexplored.

1. Gyms & Leisure Centres

We’ll start with perhaps the most obvious pharmacy partners of the bunch, the place where people either live or avoid…the gym.

The exact nature of the partnership may depend on what your pharmacy offers, and what type of facility you’re partnering with. For example, a relaxed spa-type leisure centre may prove a better partner for a Health Food Pharmacy or an Aesthetics specialist. More of your iron-pumping, gut-crunching, throwing tyres at punching bags gyms may refer more naturally to a pharmacy with a good range of supplements.

woman lifting weights at the gym

2. Travel Agents

Errr…do I really need to explain this one?

The unusual thing about this partnership is that it shouldn’t be unusual. Travel Agents make excellent pharmacy partners. But many pharmacists don’t bother building relationships with Travel Agents.

Sure, there’s very little chance of you being able to refer them business, but perhaps offering a discounted rate for their referrals gives them an extra value proposition to their clients.

High street travel agents might be less likely to partner (though you don’t ask, you don’t get) but self-employed Independent Travel Agents are increasingly common.

You’ll often find them on Instagram, so reach out to them and ask! Even if you get blanked, what has it cost? And what do you stand to gain? The risk/reward is so disproportionate, the only reason I can think of that more pharmacies don’t do this is that they’ve not thought of it.

So, you’re welcome.

a message on instagram reaching out to an independent travel agent to propose becoming pharmacy partners

A direct message (DM) sent on Instagram.

3. Furniture Shops

This is definitely a bit more left field, but there’s definitely scope for back and forth between a pharmacy dealing with people with posture and mobility issues and furniture shops which provide specialist furniture to support these issues.

Whether it’s a patient complaining about back pain despite being given the right treatment, or a customer purchasing a bed or a chair who complains about chronic or debilitating pain, there’s room for both parties to refer to each other for additional support.

The large furniture retailers are probably harder to contact, but if you focus on smaller, local businesses, firing them an email is again a very small output of time for the potential of a partnership.

bed with mattress

4. Personal Trainers/Yoga Instructors

Both personal trainers and Yoga Instructors work very closely with people actively taking measures to improve their health.

They also tend to have good ongoing relationships with their clients, and are trusted sources of advice.

Reaching out to these people for a referral exchange? Recommend them to patients looking to get more active, and they recommend patients to you for things like joint supports, supplements, etc. It’s an unusual partnership with a very normal business relationship.

yoga class led by instructor

5. Sports Clubs

Sports clubs are pillars in their communities, and great for bringing people together. They also help keep communities active and healthy, aligning with your goals as a pharmacy (pun intended.)

There’s a range of clubs in most communities, all of which make excellent partners for community pharmacies:

  • Tennis Clubs
  • Football Clubs
  • Athletics Clubs (including Running & Cycling Groups)
  • Rugby Clubs
  • Golf Clubs
  • Crown Green Bowls

Every one of those sports routinely sees minor injuries which don’t need a doctor or a hospital – but often need treatment. And more often than not, they go without treatment, because there is no obvious solution.

Making your local sports clubs aware of your offering and how you can provide a service to their members’ problems is simply a matter of having a conversation and, as with most partnerships, putting up some posters & leaflets around the club.

How can you refer people to sports clubs?

Perhaps you can’t refer people to the sports clubs. Unless you have a fantastic relationship with them and are encouraging more rigorous exercise, it’s likely not a natural course of conversation. But there are multiple ways of reciprocating value:

  • Supplying First Aid Kits
  • Sponsoring Their Kits
  • Offering free assessments for any sports injuries
  • Featuring their posters on your noticeboard.

There’s another set of clubs you can target, namely societies at Universities. But that is such a big opportunity, it deserves its own section.

girls playing volleyball in a sports hall

6. Universities, Societies & Student Unions

There’s a wide range of opportunities for partnerships between pharmacies and universities. It’s a partnership with a lot of potential both ways.

Firstly, in the UK at least, the wait for a university doctor is extensive. Pharmacies offering initial health consultations as an alternative could see a wave of demand from young people with disposable income.

But here are some of the other ways you could provide a value proposition to both the university and its students:

  • Sexual Health Awareness Days
  • Women’s Health Clinics
  • Travel Clinics for Gap Years, Placements & International Students
  • Sports societies for all the same reasons as Sports Clubs
  • Alternative to University Doctor

Driving students into your pharmacy comes with great cross-selling opportunities. Hangover remedies, noise-cancelling earplugs for sleeping, contraception…the list goes on, especially once you’ve talked to the person and understood what their particular needs and circumstances are.

university students

Partnerships shape businesses

One major partnership can revolutionise businesses. Where previously it made no sense to stock certain products, with the right partnerships, they could be your best sellers. It’s worth considering what you’re open to offering, as well as what you do offer when you head into these discussions with potential partners.

Finding Pharmacy Partners is easier online

Whilst meeting face-to-face is always better for building relationships, you understandably won’t have time to schedule meetings all over town.

This is where emails or social media are your friends. Especially a great social media presence.

What’s the first thing you’d do when assessing whether or not a business held any sway with its community?

Pretty much the only thing you can do to assess it. You’d check out how many followers they had, and what kind of engagement they get on their posts.

Of course, that isn’t strictly necessary. If you don’t have a great social media presence, don’t let that stop you from reaching out.

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