Locum of the Year
It’s not every day that a pharmacist saves a life in the pharmacy. However, Mr Haq has already saved two while working as a locum at Knights Pharmacy’s branch in Stockton-on-Tees, Durham.
When a woman with severe allergies was struggling to breathe, he administered an EpiPen and waited with her for an ambulance. The woman came in the next day to thank him for saving her life.
On another occasion, when a patient suffered a cardiac arrest, Mr Haq leapt into action to administer CPR.
But what really sets Mr Haq apart is his focus on delivering an exceptional variety of services, helping to keep the pharmacy profitable despite the tough funding climate.
He generated more than £100,000-worth of income from services in one branch, helping it to make more money than any other in the chain. He delivers over 400 flu vaccinations every year and a significant chunk of the town’s sexual health services.
Described by a colleague as “going above and beyond at all times”, he is “known for the exceptional care he provides for his patients”.
Waleed Mughal has delivered first-class patient care for a private GP practice through organising a medicines home delivery service.
Pharmacy To My Door, an online pharmacy based in Warwickshire, joined forces with private GP practice Concierge Medical to become the exclusive providers of medication to the practice’s patients.
After a patient receives a private prescription from the GP at the practice, a Pharmacy To My Door pharmacist contacts them to provide medicines advice. They then send a prescription to the patient via a driver, before sending a text confirming delivery to the practice.
Mr Mughal has also organised a telephone hotline and email address for patients using the service.
The managing director of the pharmacy, Amit Patel, says the service Mr Mughal set up gives the practice and patients “a complete healthcare solution”.
One patient review said: “Why don’t all patients use this service? I don’t need to do anything for my repeat medication…It’s made my life so much easier.”
It has improved the pharmacy brand and provided a cashflow for Pharmacy To My Door in the wake of NHS funding cuts, which has allowed Mr Patel to “reinvest money into new staff and training programmes”.
- Hariz MohammedLenny Chemist, Lewis Grove Pharmacy, Day Lewis and othersMs Mohammed promotes health and wellbeing in the community by pioneering health campaigns. She arranges health displays and encourages patient interaction to raise awareness. She also uses her coaching skills to train other pharmacists in delivering medicines use reviews (MURs). In March 2018, she delivered eight MURs in two days to meet a pharmacy’s annual target deadline.
Independent Pharmacy of the Year
Over 10 years Cadham Pharmacy has undergone a transformation. From its humble beginnings, it has shifted focus from dispensing and retail to independent prescribing, becoming a visionary pharmacy health centre.
It started with owner Bernadette Brown’s “dream” to use her independent prescribing skills to make the public “choose pharmacy first for health advice and minor illness”.
Ms Brown’s pharmacy transformation began with making the premises look and feel clinical, before relaunching in 2017 without any retail shelves.
Today, the pharmacy offers follow-up consultations, online bookings, and a walk-in health centre hub for NHS services, as well as a travel clinic, aesthetics centre and a partnership with a local nurse.
The pharmacy’s gross profit margin has increased by 12% over the last four years. In that time, Ms Brown’s team has grown from five to 21, among them two “clinical” pharmacists, and her partner – not to mention four dispensing robots.
The pharmacy received an “excellent” inspection rating from the GPhC for innovative practice, which Ms Brown says shows that community pharmacies “can and should be delivering advanced care in the community”.
AR Pharmacy shows outstanding focus on assisting other healthcare practitioners in delivering services to the community, as well as looking after patients from all backgrounds through its many outreach projects.
They hold drop-in ‘meet the pharmacist’ sessions at local traveller sites, interacting with one of the most deprived groups in the country. They also offer their consultation rooms to Dementia UK support workers, and help out with local diabetes events.
They were the first independent pharmacy across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to achieve Healthy Living Pharmacy status. They are regularly in the top five in the country for the number of new medicine service reviews and were second in the country for the number of NHS flu jabs last year, by administering more than 2,000.
AR Pharmacy accomplished all this while dispensing more than 22,000 items per month, following an average annual increase of 7%.
The pharmacy conducts the patient survey not just once a year as contractually obliged, but three times. They have used this to develop and tailor their services, including providing private flu vaccinations and an NHS smoking cessation service that has “the highest quit rate for a pharmacy” in south England.
- Bannside PharmacyPortglenoneBannside Pharmacy achieved impressive results in a 12-week project to help patients with type 2 diabetes, with two of the 10 participants now in partial remission. In addition, by identifying a local interest in sports nutrition, they developed a niche market in complementary medicines and supplements. People travel up to 30 miles to the pharmacy to seek advice on the topic.
- Tout’s PharmacyStreetA £100,000 revamp has enabled Tout’s Pharmacy to realise their vision of “everyone leaves happier”. The pharmacy has also collaborated with a drug and alcohol enterprise, Turning Point, which moved into an office above the pharmacy, improving patient outcomes and increasing dispensing volume.
- Warman-Freed PharmacyLondonThis 60-year-old institution has brought its business into the 21st century with a total revamp, after a consultation revealed patients wanted an improved environment. The refit includes a front-facing dispensary, consultation rooms and a discreet waiting area. It has resulted in a 12% increase in footfall and 200% increase in services uptake.
- Easons PharmacyTamworthThe third pharmacist from the Eason family to lead the pharmacy, Kieran has embraced technology and training. He convinced commissioners to let the premises deliver a new ear, nose and throat initiative, treating more than 50 patients in its first weeks and freeing up appointments at the local GP surgery.
- Smarta HealthcareBedfordshireSince its inception in 2015, this family-run dispensing hub has grown 45% year-on-year. It now delivers to more than 3,000 patients across 30 care homes. With a dedicated technology platform, it provides online training for care home staff and sends them reminders for when they should administer medicine.
- Cranbrook PharmacyExeterStarting a new pharmacy from scratch is hard, especially when you’re the first healthcare business in (a newly built) town. Cranbrook Pharmacy overcame obstacles such as low dispensing volume to make a profit in just three years, through concentrating on providing services and developing its retail offering.
Pre-registration Graduate of the Year
The impact Mr Bukera made in his first year was so significant that he has diarised his work so the company can inform their programme for future pre-regs with his experience.
He works across three settings each week: the pharmacy, a GP practice and a dementia care unit. Mr Bukera liaised with staff across all of them to optimise his patient care, through triangulating patients and optimising medicines. For elderly patients, his hard work deprescribing reduced their side effects and improved their quality of life.
Through his “polite manner, exceptional communication skills and perfect professionalism” he aided the pharmacy’s relations with the GP practice and the dementia care unit, his company’s head of training said. The GPs now have a greater respect for the pharmacy team and communication from the practice has improved.
He “never says no”, even getting up at 5am to help the company with its Pharmacy Show stand.
Ms Boxer is a dementia champion in the fullest sense, having trained more than 300 new Dementia Friends during her pre-registration year. This involved securing permission from the University of Sunderland to train students on the MPharm, nursing and paramedic courses.
Within her pharmacy, she improved its care of elderly patients by designing and implementing an audit to identify those on medication that resulted in a high anticholinergic burden. The pharmacy referred all the patients Ms Boxer identified to their surgery.
Taking advantage of another training opportunity, Ms Boxer took an online learning course so she could run an event on the early warning signs of pancreatic cancer, which led to other branches in the chain taking part in the campaign.
“We should do our best to educate ourselves on patients of all backgrounds” to provide the best care possible, Ms Boxer says. To underline this point, she is learning sign language.
- Daniel ChalmersBoots, Crabtree DriveMr Chalmers has been the driving force for two in-store charity events, a local health campaign to tackle childhood obesity, and a toy donation drive for local disadvantaged children. No wonder he was selected by Boots to represent the multiple at the Aston University careers fair.
- Nirali PatelPaydens, SurbitonMs Patel’s leaflets educating patients who take antidepressants on lifestyle management have been distributed to more than 50 pharmacies. Her audit of customer service and waiting times led to a company-wide efficiency improvement on dispensing scripts, making it easier to identify waiting EPS scripts and reducing dispensing errors.
- Jincy JoyWell Pharmacy, KingswoodMs Joy developed her pharmacy’s relationship with their adjacent GP surgery by arranging to work some shifts in the practice. She used this position to tackle medicines shortages by arranging alternative treatment from GPs when necessary.
- Chandni ShahDay Lewis, WallingtonHaving moved to the UK from Kenya in 2017, Ms Shah had a lot to absorb during her first year in the country, before she even reached the pharmacy. Her positive attitude and initiative made her an indispensable member of her team.
- Omar Anwar Othman KatabKnights Pharmacy, Cleadon Park, South ShieldsRecording over 50 pharmacy interventions every month, this pre-reg has prevented two instances of methadone overprescribing. His hard work has seen the pharmacy’s dispensing volume rise by 5,000 items a month during his tenure.
- Vivian YipBedminster Pharmacy, BristolMs Yip took the pharmacy into the public domain with a blood pressure stand at a local health centre. She also led a campaign against pancreatic cancer through encouraging staff to train online, raising awareness through social media and liaising with a local Wetherspoons pub.
Pharmacy Staff Member of the Year
Ms Harper has risen through the ranks at an astonishing rate, from trainee dispenser to pharmacy manager in just a few years.
In a pharmacy that was suffering from multiple senior staff resignations and declining item figures, she battled to build a team. It is now gaining around 100 electronic prescription service nominations a week. On top of this, she has shifted the focus of her team from dispensing to services.
In her search to improve patients’ health and wellbeing, Ms Harper discovered an opportunity to vaccinate primary school teachers. Her pharmacy staff have since vaccinated those working at two schools, with more requests for services coming in every week.
Meanwhile, Ms Harper also implemented a text messaging system that notifies patients when their prescriptions are ready to collect. It is also used to notify patients of upcoming services, such as medicines use reviews or flu vaccinations.
Under Ms Harper, Crossfell Pharmacy has become a training hub for new starters in the area. She “champions the progression of every colleague and takes an active role in their coaching”, her area manager says.
Ms Parsley has gone beyond the call of duty by looking after a patient with dementia when no one else could.
The patient was losing weight and couldn’t remember when to take her medication – she would take it all in one go if given a dosette box.
While the patient resisted Ms Parsley’s attempts to get the local GP practice or social services involved, she was always happy to come to the pharmacy.
Ms Parsley hit on the idea of delivering the medicine along with her breakfast. Each morning, the patient’s carer guided her to the pharmacy and Ms Parsley gave her the morning tablets along with porridge and a cup of tea, handing the patient’s evening medicine to her carer.
If the individual appeared later in the day because she had forgotten her breakfast visit, Ms Parsley would walk her home.
The trust Ms Parsley gained eventually allowed her to persuade the patient to go to the GP, which led to her entering full time care. She even helped the patient to pack for the move. “I can still go and see her now and I know that she is safe,” Ms Parsley says.
- Sean BrannenWell Pharmacy, Keele UniversityDuring his summer break, Mr Brannen put in extra shifts to lead the branch through an update to a new company policy called ‘best in class’. This involved overhauling their monitored dosage system by typing up handwritten patient records to make them less ambiguous.
- Bryony DaviesMacclesfieldAfter one of Ms Davies’ regular patients was diagnosed with lung cancer, she called him regularly to check he had everything he needed. When he was struggling to source an item, she contacted the GP and the manufacturer to find it. He was so moved by her care that he made the first trip out of his house in weeks to thank her in person.
- Jessica DillonLloydspharmacy, Hemel HempsteadWith no previous pharmacy experience, dispenser Ms Dillon worked her way up from counter assistant to dispenser and is now planning to train as a pharmacy technician. Dedicated to helping patients at any opportunity, she delivers medicine and even pints of milk to the housebound.
- Leanne ClysedaleClackmannan Pharmacy, ClackmannanHaving worked her way up from trainee dispenser to dispensary supervisor in just a couple of years, pharmacy technician Ms Clysedale has increased the branch’s business by growing its monitored dosage system provision, leading the smoking cessation service and supporting training of three new starters.
- Susan JohnsonLloydspharmacy, ChigwellMs Johnson has worked in this Lloydspharmacy branch for 41 years, starting as a sales assistant and working her way up to an accuracy checking technician. Over this time, Ms Johnson has been pivotal in training pre-reg pharmacists, building relationships with the neighbouring health centre and ensuring the smooth running of the dispensary.
- Shona JubbDean and Smedley, SwadlincoteAfter completing the Mary Seacole leadership programme, Ms Jubb has not only progressed from dispensary manager to an accredited checking technician, she has also developed a substance misuse offering, building the needle exchange uptake to 80 patients, as well as introducing a repeat prescription service.
The Training and Development Award
Kamsons Pharmacy takes the annual challenge of attracting and developing 20 of the best pharmacy graduates seriously. Its cohort achieved a 100% pass rate in the GPhC pre-registration exam in 2015 and 2016, and beat the GPhC average in 2017 and 2018.
The strength of its 15-year-old programme lies partly in having built up a wide variety of partners, such as hospitals associated with Health Education London and South East.
In exchange, Kamsons offers an over-the-counter training roleplay day, on a Sunday in a closed pharmacy, in which students take turns to play medicines counter assistant, a pharmacist and a patient. The ‘patient’ plays dead in the event of any serious mistakes.
Nearly half of pharmacist managers with Kamsons and many tutors began at the company as pre-registration trainees, creating a positive cycle of training and recruitment.
At the heart of the programme’s success is how it builds the relationship between the pre-registration trainees and their tutors, who volunteer for the role with no financial incentive.
One trainees says: “Kamsons isn't a company, but a family where you always feel welcome.”
HEELaSE has developed the first pharmacy tutor training course that allows pharmacists and pharmacy technicians across primary and secondary care to learn in the same environment, forming new networks and sharing experiences.
Partnering with the Pharmacy Training Company, who were the first to offer online pharmacy training, HEELaSE has so far trained 411 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
The 10-month programme includes placing trainees in GP surgeries, with some working part-time across multiple practice areas. This has naturally developed the links between community pharmacy, hospital and general practice.
Not only does this allow HEELaSE to feed significant practical insight to the next generation of pharmacists, but it also means that other healthcare professionals have witnessed first-hand the value that pharmacy brings to healthcare. One tutor on the course even invited GP trainees to spend time in a pharmacy.
“The course gave me the confidence to change my management approach towards the whole team, to become more receptive to other ideas,” says one former student.
- ‘Best practice’ training eventsTees LPCFor the past two years, Tees local pharmaceutical committee has been holding bi-monthly events to enhance the capability and confidence of pharmacy teams in supporting patients with mental health, physical health and learning difficulties. These help to identify areas where community pharmacy is most needed.
- Team trainingPharmaCare Pharmacy, WalsallThis new team organised a daily 20-minute skill swap to harness individuals’ knowledge, with the aim of bringing the whole team up to scratch. It worked so well that they now deliver free training to care home staff, and have grown the business from the ground up in just three years, now dispensing 12,000 monthly items.
- Patient education sessionsGreen Light Pharmacy, Camden CEPN and Community MattersPartnering with a local GP practice, pharmacy staff jointly ran 12 workshops in 2018 to educate the public on self-care, with the aim of reducing pressure on GP appointments and A&E departments. The sessions were attended by 72 patients and carers.
- Team development initiativesThe Priory Community Pharmacy, DudleyAt the pharmacy’s ‘Update Tuesdays’ sessions, each team member – including the pre-registration trainee and locums – present a topic to learn from each other. The team also invites a student in for work experience almost every day of the week, feeding into their pre-reg pharmacist programme.
- Pre-registration training programmeImaan HealthcareThe independent pharmacy group decided to give their pre-registration trainees more clinical experience. They now offer pre-regs six to nine months in community pharmacy, three to six months in a GP practice and, where possible, time in another setting, such as a care home or a mental health facility.
Manager of the Year
From a Saturday assistant at the age of 16, to managing an independent pharmacy at the cutting edge of dispensing, Ms Lucas’s career has come a long way.
She flew through training programmes to become her previous employer’s youngest ever accuracy checking technician at age 21, before working her way up to branch manager at just 25.
In the last four years at her current pharmacy, she has upheld its motto of “innovation, innovation, innovation”. Her efforts were rewarded with a GPhC rating of ‘good’, an accolade awarded to only 17% of pharmacies between 2013 and 2016.
Under her management, the pharmacy’s innovations include upgrading the dispensary robot and introducing a 24-hour automated prescription collection point, which led to 2,000 automated pickups a month. She has also restructured the staff base, refocussing the dispensary around accuracy checking technicians, and reviving efforts to promote under-used services.
But Ms Lucas says her proudest achievement is the apprenticeship programme based around her own experience. It involves recruiting trainees from local schools and training them up from healthcare assistant to management over a period of as little as four years.
Ms Woodgate has rapidly progressed from humble beginnings on the pharmacy counter to dispenser, pharmacy technician, accuracy checking technician and now manager of a team of 12 in one of her chain’s busiest pharmacies.
Her efforts to root her pharmacy at the centre of her community have seen her open a food bank for the vulnerable, gathering donations of meals and toiletries from customers in big, tinsel-adorned baskets.
The project, ‘Hunger knows no season’, saw her receive a letter of thanks from shadow minister for early years, Labour MP Tracy Brabin.
Ms Woodgate also led a pharmacy campaign to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, through purple products, which received recognition from charity Pancreatic Cancer Action.
Her passion has seen the proportion of patients who have nominated the pharmacy via the electronic prescription service rise from 45% to 95%, through incentivising staff with tally charts and prizes.
Added to all this, Ms Woodgate recently started remotely managing a second pharmacy in the nearby city of Leeds.
- Gary WhiteWell Pharmacy, Lawton RoadMr White led his small team to vaccinate more than 1,000 people against flu last year. In just six months, he oversaw the pharmacy dispense more than 94,000 items and secure 75,000 over-the-counter sales. He has mentored his team through clinical professional development, with several becoming level 3 pharmacy technicians.
- Farhan AliLloydspharmacy, RamsbottomWith many staff on the verge of leaving when he arrived six years ago, Mr Ali’s pharmacy is now thriving thanks to his attentiveness – from visiting a colleague in hospital who suffered a heart attack, to ordering extra stock for a cancer patient to assuage her fears of a Brexit-induced medication shortage.
- Hannah BattersbyLloydspharmacy, Greater ManchesterMs Battersby consistently goes above and beyond, answering calls when she’s off work and running competitions between branches with prizes paid out of her own pocket. When a delivery failed and a patient was left without urgently needed medication, she delivered it by paying for a taxi.
- Simran Kaur SekhonWell Pharmacy, Kent, Sussex and south coastThis regional development manager looks after the company’s largest area. He regularly visits every branch to get stuck in by relieving pressure at busy times, serving patients, putting away stock, and even giving pharmacies a dust.
- Ben EatonDean and Smedley, SwadlincoteAs manager of his branch for 19 years, Mr Eaton has monitored the health of families down the generations, developing enhanced services such as emergency hormonal contraception and a needle exchange, while simultaneously working both as a pharmacist and head office senior manager.
- Amanda EvansDay Lewis, RedruthFor Christmas this year, Ms Evans’ pharmacy received over 40 boxes of chocolate and biscuits from patients, showing their affection for the team. Amanda has raised hundreds of pounds for charity, bought sleeping bags for the homeless and attended funerals of longstanding patients.
Online Initiative of the Year
Pharmafocus describes its digital platform as providing websites to community pharmacies at affordable prices. It has levelled the online playing field for independents, who often don’t have the financial means to compete with the larger groups digitally.
Hundreds of independent pharmacies use their services to automatically display and detail exactly which services and products they offer, as well as publishing news and annual survey results.
Customers can now engage with these pharmacies in all kinds of ways online. They can nominate the pharmacy for electronic prescriptions, order repeat medication, book services such as flu jabs and travel clinic appointments, and even chat live with a member of staff.
All this saves valuable time for pharmacists and has helped increase patient uptake of private and NHS services, helping pharmacists boost alternative revenue sources.
For example, one pharmacy used to get a high volume of calls regarding travel vaccination prices and availability. Now they display this information alongside a booking facility on their website, so customers get all the information they need beforehand, leaving pharmacists more time to spend on patient care.
Team PreReg’s live online video conferences train the pharmacists of the future from the comfort of their homes.
In the webinars, the training provider shares best clinical practice and tests learning. So far, all their webinars have been rated five stars on average, with 92% of viewers watching the entire video, showing that students are engaged for the duration.
While users can access the webinars after the event, half of those registered for each webinar log on while they are live.
Over 2018, Team PreReg supported 800 pharmacy students through their platform. Healthcare professionals have also joined onto their webinars to develop their knowledge and to help with their CPD.
What’s more, they don’t restrict numbers on the platform, and use the videos to market their other training resources.
- Mental health and wellbeing website and campaignShabbir Mellick, Boots“From darkness to light.” This is the mantra that brought Boots pharmacist Mr Mellick through when he was suffering from anxiety and depression following a needlestick injury. The phrase launched his website, which he uses to spread a message of positivity and to spark conversations about mental health with patients.
- What Do You Call It? CampaignMidcounties Co-operative PharmacyTo coincide with the launch of the first Viagra P medicine, the Midcounties Co-operative group set out to de-stigmatise erectile dysfunction. It produced a video of men saying the words they use to describe their penis – "willy", "love rod", "Mr Happy" – with the phrase "whatever you call it, feel good about it”.
- Paperless pharmacy solutionDouglas Pharmacy, London and Voyager MedicalManaging director Mike Bereza has digitised his pharmacy in London to make it 90% paperless. This has reduced errors and pharmacy staff stress levels. As he can manage the pharmacy remotely, it has even enabled him to go on the occasional holiday and plough revenue back into services.
- Online strategyLindsay & Gilmour Pharmacy support officeLindsay & Gilmour increased their online presence to engage with a younger generation and promote services such as flu vaccinations. They have become an established voice across the main social media channels, with one LinkedIn blog post receiving over 4,500 views.
- FMD software systemPharmDataWith the Falsified Medicines Directive coming into force in February 2019, PharmData created software to help pharmacies get compliant with the EU law at low cost. Due to the uncertainty around the directive, there was no minimum term contract.
- Online training coursesVirtualOutcomesVirtualOutcomes provides 15-minute, easily accessible online training courses and links to free leaflets, posters, podcasts and patient materials for pharmacy teams. Partnering with the likes of Diabetes UK and Cancer Research UK further varied their offering.