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C+D Awards' best of the best: Olutayo Arikawe

Are you ready to vote for your favourite award-winner of the past decade?

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the C+D Awards, we have created a special category for 2017 – and are giving you the chance to pick the winner. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be looking back at each of the past recipients of the coveted Community Pharmacist of the Year trophy. Readers will then be given the chance to vote for their favourite entry, with the winner announced at the C+D Awards ceremony at Celtic Manor in Wales on July 12.

This week it's the turn of Olutayo Arikawe, superintendent of The Priory pharmacy in Dudley, who scooped the award in 2016.

What made her a winner?

The pharmacy Mrs Arikawe manages organised an impressive array of events to promote healthy living to its local community, including hosting fitness sessions and pole dancing classes on the premises, as well as an annual health funfair.

​The Priory also ran a chlamydia service, alongside outreach work with local colleges to offer workshops on sexual health to young people.

When it comes to services, smoking cessation was a priority, with lots of messaging to prompt customers to ask questions about the scheme. Ms Arikawe took every opportunity to “have the conversation” when a customer came in with a cough, and revealed they had a 100-cigarette-a-day habit. “Developing a rapport, reassuring her that we could support her to give up – and empowering her to do it – all helped," Ms Arikawe told C+D last year. "As pharmacists, we’re not here to be judgmental, we’re just here for support.”

As a teaching and training pharmacy, it also accommodates weekly team development meetings to ensure everyone has the chance to reach their potential. No surprise that Ms Arikawe also received the C+D Award for Pharmacy Manager of the Year.

Ms Arikawe's top tip:

"My team members are very important to me, and I’m passionate about them and their welfare. That’s because I believe that when you take care of them, the team will in turn take care of the community – then the community will take care of your team."

What’s she up to now?

After her C+D successes, Ms Arikawe was awarded two further accolades by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) later in 2016: the Public Health Pharmacist of the Year and the I Love My Pharmacist award (the latter voted for by patients and the public). She also took to the airwaves, promoting ways of staying well during the winter, and supporting the RPS campaign on the dangers of self-diagnosis.

“I’ve been on about nine radio stations doing these campaigns, encouraging people to use their pharmacy first,” says Ms Arikawe. She spoke at the Sigma conference in Brazil, urging pharmacists to “raise the bar even in the face of cuts” and look at innovative ways of working.

She says the C+D Award helped her improve her public speaking. “Usually, I’m not someone who loves to speak in public, but winning the award has helped me to step up and now I find myself speaking everywhere. It has improved my confidence,” she says.

She has also made connections with pharmacists and done more networking, realising that her awards make her a role model for many people.

“I go out of my way now to talk with people, and it’s made me more conscious of the fact that I’m a role model and I have to support other people and also help [them]. So it’s not just about me anymore.”

Read our profile of Best of the Best's 2013 C+D Award-winner Laura Rowley here.

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