We meet Alitam Operational Director Dinesh Ganatra.
Masterfully meeting the demands of the pandemic across his 6 pharmacies, Dinesh Ganatra, owner of Rosemead Trading Ltd, epitomises the resilience and creativity of the community pharmacist. His team of 44 staff, including area managers, have won many accolades from their customers and local GPs for the constancy of their service. “It fell upon us to take up the slack when the surgeries and other medical establishments struggled,” says Dinesh. “It was an enormous challenge, but one which has been highly instructive. Now, more than ever, we feel equipped as pharmacists to exploit our knowledge and talents, bringing our communities the health care they deserve.”
Going to the next level
From Yorkshire to the London suburbs, each of the pharmacies sits within a health centre, offering all the benefits such proximity brings. “We can liaise with GPs, advise on drug interactions and more,” explains Dinesh. “And during the pandemic this service was taken to the next level. We stayed open 7 days a week, receiving 4 times the usual number of enquiries, as calls to the GPs were diverted to our pharmacies.” He smiles, “My staff (some of whom have 15 years service) are amazing, they rallied magnificently. Although we felt the impact of Covid, as staff members fell ill or had to isolate, still we met our flu vaccination targets and customers continually tell us how grateful they are. We were literally the only port of call for many. When one of our health centres had GP staffing problems recently, they relied on us again to advise patients. Their gratitude is heart warming.” In addition to supporting his health centre GPs, Dinesh and his team run a full range of clinical services, including a Travel Clinic, blood pressure testing and diabetes checks.
Their delivery drivers number 7 in total, and the Norfolk pharmacy is ranked number 2 for flu vaccinations in the county.
‘Alitam community spirit’
Dinesh is passionate about his new horizons with Alitam. “As pharmacists, everything we do is about how we can give more to our communities,” explains Dinesh. “So with this fantastic model of integration, sharing of ideas, a wonderful mix of younger talent with highly experienced figures, there’s no limit to what we can do.”
“We’re all keeping a significant stake in our business, so the motivation to succeed is huge. I know that 40 or 50 minds together is far more powerful than anything any individual can achieve. This is a tried and tested approach to growth which will not fail. If anything, I think we’ll be constantly surprised by what we can do.”
One area of particular interest to Dinesh is the drug procurement process, which he feels is convoluted and unnecessarily time consuming. “One of my dispensing managers spends a minimum of 8 hours a week comparing the prices of generics,” he says. “There are enormous price fluctuations, and you can’t even stock up as products are kept in short supply. With the vertical integration that Alitam affords we can win back this time – in my pharmacies this equates to regaining 15% of working time a week. This time can now be invested back into patient care. Across the entire Alitam membership, you can see what a difference this will make to people’s health and well-being.”
‘The future pharmacy deserves’
“I couldn’t agree more,” says Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam Founder. “Procurement is just one aspect of the pharmacy business which will be hugely enhanced, liberating our talented pharmacists to do what they do best…care for patients. Dinesh is a highly valued member of the Alitam team, with his community spirit and forensic focus on the bottom line. He’s a key player in taking pharmacy into the future, a future it so greatly deserves.”