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Podcast – My journey to become AIMp CEO and how I stand up for pharmacies

AIMp CEO Leyla Hannbeck reveals how she worked her way up in pharmacy after moving to the UK and the best means to tackle the biggest issues affecting the sector, in a bonus episode of the A Coffee With… podcast series

Pharmacy’s vaccination success; its role in giving out lateral flow test kits; and the alarming number of community pharmacy closures: these are just three of the hot topics Leyla Hannbeck has raised nationally in recent months as a vocal proponent of the community pharmacy sector.

“The biggest issues are changing all the time. But I think the biggest issue is a lack of recognition [of the sector], which then leads to lots of other issues,” Dr Hannbeck tells C+D reporter Emily Stearn in the podcast (listen below).

“We’ve managed to really raise the profile of community pharmacy. But with the great work that they have done, it’s hard not to notice what’s happened and what they have achieved.”

Read more: Podcast – How I’m helping women to take charge of their health

In a career spanning almost two decades, Dr Hannbeck has been at the centre of key decisions and developments within the community pharmacy sector.

Beginning her career as a pharmacist advisor in Sweden in 2004, she was shortly after approached by UK pharmacies and decided to relocate to Newcastle that same year, where she began working at Boots, covering various branch and multi-site management positions for over four years.

While she “loved the people and the city” – overcoming the initial struggles with the Geordie accent – she decided to move to the south of England when an opportunity came up to join the National Pharmacy Association as head of information services.

She later moved up the ladder, firstly holding the position of medicines safety officer, then becoming chief pharmacist and director of pharmacy. She later departed to join the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) as CEO in September 2019.

Please note that this podcast was recorded remotely, which may at times affect sound quality.


As a popular CEO in the sector, what does her day-to-day job look like?

“It’s hectic, but I have a great team around me. There’s always a lot going on,” she says.

It’s all about making sure AIMp “pushes out as much as possible” to represent its members and their concerns in the most productive way possible. It’s also all about “what we want for the sector for the future”, she says, which includes raising awareness of pharmacy’s worth with politicians, too.

Read more: Podcast – My journey to become Lloydspharmacy’s first ever female superintendent pharmacist

“The fluffy words that we hear from the decision makers and politicians, that’s all great, that’s all good. But we need action,” she says. “We need to make sure that those words are translated into proper action, to help our sector.”

Throughout the pandemic, “we have not left any stone unturned”, she adds. “We did flu services, we’ve done COVID-19 vaccination services, we’ve done all of the other services and we’re smashing it. The evidence is there.”


Listen to the podcast to find out more about:

  • Dr Hannbeck’s journey to become AIMp CEO
  • what her immediate priorities in the role are
  • how community pharmacy can gain wider recognition
  • her future goals for the sector.


You can listen to the podcast above. Alternatively, follow C+D’s podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud

Dr Hannbeck will chair two sessions at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham this year, on October 16. Join her debate on the pharmacy workforce from 10:40 at the Clinical Theatre and her session on ICSs and the future of pharmacy contract and funding from 13:15 at the Keynote Theatre.


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