We’re aware that there are some discount retailers nationally selling natural health products at prices that we just can’t hope to match.
We know it is frustrating for customers to see some products advertised for prices elsewhere that are not matched locally. It’s frustrating for us, too.
Discount retailers can offer these rock-bottom prices on some products because their product range is huge. They deliberately keep the prices below cost or unrealistically low because they know they will get the money back through making greater profits on other products.
Also, these stores cater for massive customer bases so by making a few dollars on each sale, with so many sales per day, they can achieve their profit goals.
For the same reason, some of these discount retailers are also waiving the Government $5 co-payment. We simply do not have the resources to follow suit BUT we are working tirelessly through our political associations to get this charge removed on a national basis.
We understand that you have choices about where you spend your money and we hope that you will continue to be a loyal customer of Unichem Kerikeri Pharmacy. We are hugely grateful for your continued support; this allows us to offer a full range of services that are not available through discount retailers, and to contribute to our community in other ways:
We take huge pride in being able to offer an expert, personal service right here, on your doorstep. This isn’t marketing puffery, it’s the real deal. The accumulated experience and knowledge that all our advisors, from the most senior to the most junior, is vast. It’s also current because we invest significantly in training and Continuous Professional Development.
Community pharmacies and the healthcare professionals who work in them play a huge role in taking pressure off the general practitioner doctors who service our District. Many people are aware of the chronic shortage of GPs in the Mid and Far North; the problems this is causing would be considerably more acute if the District’s network of community pharmacies did not exist.
Our accredited pharmacists can provide advice for erectile dysfunction, selected oral contraceptives, insomnia, conjunctivitis, urinary tract infections and emergency contraception. We can also prescribe treatment for these conditions. We also provide blood pressure monitoring and can vaccinate and give Vitamin B12 injections. Much of this can be done on a ‘walk in’ basis, without the need for appointments.
Many of our customers are also surprised by the diagnostic services we offer. These include INR testing for those of our patients who take warfarin, uric acid testing, and cholesterol testing.
Looking to the future, we aim to expand our services as triage centres for common illnesses. We will be at the forefront of using technology to advance healthcare. Self-diagnosis and ‘Point of Care’ diagnosis are important trends that will create efficiencies for our patients, in terms of both time and cost.
All of this requires us to invest heavily in attracting fresh new talent to help us turn this vision into reality, and in the training that will keep existing staff up to speed with trends and advances in medicine.
The prices we charge enable us to continue making this important investment in the capability of our local healthcare infrastructure.
As with diagnostic and prescribing services, pharmacies are playing an increasingly important role in providing extended community healthcare services and outreach activity. Soon we hope to include cardiovascular risk assessment (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc) services at designated points in our more rural communities, along with services like ear triage and diabetes support.
Unichem Kerikeri will play an important role in the implementation of Mahitahi Hauora, the primary care entity that replaced Te Tai Tokerau and Manaia Health Primary Health Organisations in July 2019.
It is a ground-breaking collaborative endeavour; a partnership between general practice, pharmacy, Māori health providers, iwi and the Northland District Health Board. It is the single primary care entity responsible for allocating resources to priorities identified at community level by whānau, communities and healthcare providers.
We employ 31 local people as a direct result of this extensive range of services and facilities. These range from sales assistants and office staff through to dispensing pharmacists, dispensing technicians and naturopaths. Some of these are young people; work experience interns, trainees and local youngsters starting out on their careers. This means that we offer viable career options locally.
We are determined that Unichem Kerikeri should never become for our team members simply a place to work. It’s a place where they can pursue their careers, which is why we provide funded on-the-job and third-party training opportunities that result in promotion and career progression, whether it be in our business or as part of a lifetime career path.
As with many local businesses we are frequently asked to contribute both materially and financially to community projects, schools, sports teams, charities and clubs. We do this happily as we’re aware of the challenges these organisations face. We also release staff to contribute as volunteers in the community, where staff members have a passion or interest in specific charities.
Finally, our ability to hire a reasonable number of staff also frees up members of our senior management team to lend their expertise and insights as members of DHB decision-making groups that contribute to the health and well-being of our Mid-North community.
These are all services that we can provide only through the continued support of our loyal customers. They also differentiate us from the discount retailers whose cut-price and heavily subsidised business model might not look so attractive when you consider what it comes at the expense of.
As you can tell, we take seriously any concerns about pricing. If you would like to discuss any pricing issue with us in more detail we’ll be more than happy to do so. Either get in touch via our Contact form https://www.unichemkerikeri.co.nz/contact or use the form to set up a meeting with Vicki Douglas – she’ll be delighted to meet you.