Best of the Best
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 2016.
Mr Maguire transformed his Marton Pharmacy in Middlesbrough into a healthy living and therapy centre, offering everything from smoking cessation services and evening weight management classes to chiropody and acupuncture.
He started by renting rooms to therapists – including a chiropodist – which he says was the easiest way to expand his pharmacy's offering. Members of his staff were also trained up to help deliver therapy treatments, as well as some of the pharmacy's other services.
Mr Maguire was active in his healthcare community, hosting local pharmaceutical committee and primary care trust meetings, and giving talks at international conferences on smoking cessation.
He was also a champion of his hometown. When Middlesbrough was voted the worst place to live in England, he helped launch a Love Middlesbrough campaign to promote local businesses and talent.
- Alison SparkesCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2012In the words of the C+D Awards judges: "Alison created a pharmacy business that goes well beyond traditional dispensing and minor ailments advice."
- Jay BadenhorstCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2015Mr Badenhorst drove change throughout the 35-branch Whitworth Chemists chain in the north of England, with a mixture of NHS and private initiatives.
- Laura RowleyCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2013Working in the only pharmacy on a deprived estate in the former shipbuilding town of Jarrow, Ms Rowley was determined to make it the community’s hub.
- Roisin BreenCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2014Health inequalities in Omagh inspired Ms Breen’s successful campaigns, then she used her number-crunching skills to target areas of particular need.
- Sudhir SehrawatCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2011Mr Sehrawat worked in close partnership with his local GP surgery to provide a range of innovative medicines management services in his community.
- Taseen IqbalCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2010Mr Iqbal worked tirelessly to develop new services at Modi’s Pharmacy in Dudley, including language-specific smoking cessation and a needle exchange.
- Valerie SillitoCommunity Pharmacist of the Year 2008As a consultant Boots pharmacist in Aberdeen, Ms Sillito was an independent prescribing pioneer at a time when few in the sector had taken the course.
GP Partnership of the Year
The collaborative approach to providing patient-focused care is clear at Dudley Taylor pharmacy. Sharing processes, learning and services with Arwystli medical practice has helped to target specific local health issues, and delivered mutual benefits for patients, GPs and the whole pharmacy team.
An innovative pharmacy-based independent prescribing service allows the pharmacy to treat patients with acute illnesses, and gives the community access to a local prescriber when the surgery is closed. Early evidence suggests this has reduced GP workload, out of hours GP demand, and unnecessary attendances to A&E.
The pharmacy also offers a range of services which complement the GP care model, including an emergency respiratory box scheme, smoking cessation – with most patient referrals coming from the GP surgery – and a benzodiazepine reduction clinic. The joint working has meant both the surgery and the pharmacy are operating more efficiently. With a new focus on service delivery and a second clinical consultation room and waiting area in the works, Dudley Taylor plans to expand its work to include a wider network of healthcare professionals.
The joint approach taken by this local pharmaceutical committee and its clinical commissioning group has seen community pharmacies come together with six GP practices to place independent prescribing pharmacists in GP settings, and deliver face-to-face clinical sessions for patients.
These pharmacists were seconded to surgeries, where they oversaw medication reviews, management of long-term conditions, and minor ailments treatment. They even took over nursing home reviews, reducing the time GPs needed to spend away from the surgery.
In total, over 10,200 pharmacist consultations had taken place up to December 2016, freeing up 2,000 hours of GP time, and increasing consultation time to an average of 21 minutes each.
The independent prescribing pharmacists at the forefront of the GP practices’ strategy, have received considerable personal training and development. This not only helped them to bridge the gap of understanding between community pharmacy and general practice, but strengthened relationships with local medical committees, Health Education England and the Centre for Pharmacy and Postgraduate Education, among others. Quarterly information sharing events help to give the 22 community pharmacists who have currently enrolled on the independent prescribing course a platform to promote and share learnings.
- Buxted PharmacyThe ongoing relationship between this pharmacy and their GP surgery means patients benefit from fully rounded healthcare provision. Highlights include a dementia pilot that identified a 20% reduction in patient medications, and routine blood pressure checks at the pharmacy.
- Day LewisSouthboroughThis Day Lewis pharmacy stepped in to help the local GP surgery while it was undergoing renovation work, by commissioning two purpose-built consultation rooms in their premises for the surgery team to use. The strong relationships formed as a result means local healthcare provision remained uninterrupted.
- Health Education EnglandA project to place community-based pre-registration pharmacists in local GP surgeries, and GP trainees into community pharmacies, has helped encourage shared understanding of vital pharmacy services, and foster closer working relationships. It has led some participating practices to consider employing a pharmacist full time.
- Hughenden Valley Pharma LtdThe pharmacy triage scheme, organised with local GPs, uses a “Pharmacist opinion – in need of treatment” card, which acts as a “golden ticket” to see a GP. The scheme has been shown to change patient behaviour, and is now being rolled out across the clinical commissioning group.
- Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LMC, and Leicestershire and Rutland LPCThis local pharmaceutical committee and local medical committee brought pharmacy and GP teams together to improve healthcare provision for patients, including domiciliary medicines use reviews for post-discharge patients with long-term conditions. Other local areas are now looking to replicate the scheme.
- Wraysbury Village PharmacyAn innovative ‘pharmacy liaison easy access scheme’ eased pressure on GPs and increased availability to blood pressure checks and asthma tests, among others. It not only detected cases of undiagnosed hypertension, but ensured patients now see Wraysbury as a health centre, rather than “a shop”.
Business Initiative of the Year
Pharmacist Kate Thomas noticed a problem: counter sales at Sylvia Williams Chemist had been slowly sapped by supermarket competition over the past seven years. So she gave herself the task of boosting them to their original levels – and beyond.
Ms Thomas decided she needed to find a “niche market”, and when she heard the local health food shop was closing down, she seized her chance. Health food was popular with locals, and also something she already knew about. She set up “immediate training” for her and the staff on this subject, and ran an awareness campaign via social media and window displays. They also secured premium brand suppliers, such as Solgar and Viridian.
They were soon able to inform customers about the suitability of taking vitamins or herbal medications alongside their medicine, while local doctors were happy to send curious patients to the pharmacy for expert advice in this area.
The strategy succeeded, and within a year counter sales had been boosted by 20% – double what she had hoped for. Not only are sales continuing to grow, but the pharmacy has established itself as the go-to place for health food and advice.
Connect2Pharma has built a network of over 550 pharmacist members, supporting them to offer services ranging from sore throat tests to prostate cancer detection. It prides itself on not only improving the patient experience, but also increasing pharmacy contractors’ financial security.
The company gained a handle on the pharmacy funding cuts in England by creating an analysis of the threats to the long-term viability of community pharmacies. During the research, it discovered inner-city pharmacies in particular can have relatively low prescription numbers. It concluded that some would need a more patient-facing role if they were to survive.
As part of its campaign to transform these at-risk pharmacies, Connect2Pharma developed ‘parcels of care’ – services or retail opportunities tailored to specific patient groups, which would help businesses cushion the blow of the cuts. This included visits to train staff in 250 pharmacies to perform a throat swab test. Other revenue streams they helped promote include flu and pneumonia vaccinations, the new medicine service, and smoking cessation offerings.
Connect2Pharma members have reported improved relations with GPs, while the company says its services have raised the profile of community pharmacy and “grabbed the attention” of clinical commissioning groups.
- Avon LPCQuality payments scheme projectThis local pharmaceutical committee organised four workshops, to help its 235 contractors safeguard their pharmacies against the funding cuts by securing the maximum quality payments possible. As a result, 60% of independent contractors in the county are on target to achieve this.
- D Parry PharmacyWimbledon Park travel clinicWorried about its reliance on “volatile” NHS payments, this pharmacy expanded its travel clinic, offering the services of an independent pharmacist prescriber and taking the pressure off GPs by receiving patient referrals from fully booked practices.
- Day LewisPharmacist intervention and safety sheetAccuracy checking technician Estelle Mickler had the bright idea for this safety sheet, designed to flag up key information – such as new medication, dosage changes and key treatment areas – to pharmacists in a colourful, easy-to-read form. The initiative has also helped recruit patients for medicine reviews.
- Jaysons PharmacyNottingham health centreThe two Jaysons branches were approached by their clinical commissioning group and asked to save it “hundreds of thousands of pounds” by helping a GP surgery in a deprived area. They revamped its staff and offering, delivering 800 flu vaccinations and more than 100 domiciliary medicines use reviews in the process.
- Rowlands PharmacyPatientfirst initiativeDeciding that medicines adherence should be the chain’s priority, Rowlands launched the Patientfirst initiative. It saw over 100,000 electronic medicines adherence checks conducted, leading to over 1,400 consultations. Staff now feel empowered, while patient loyalty has increased.
- Team Pre-RegSupplementary training for studentsThe four co-directors at Team PreReg have spearheaded innovative approaches to the teaching of pre-registration students. These include sold-out crash courses around England, as well as weekly online calculation questions. They continue to use student feedback as inspiration for future projects.
- the Hub pharmacyDigital service boardsThese interactive service boards in the waiting area of Hub pharmacies advertise services and enable appointment bookings. They tackle the problem of patients being unaware of what is on offer, with the added bonus of being a talking point for new customers.
Independent Pharmacy of the Year
This pharmacy has spent the last few years rebranding, refitting and restructuring. After having to make some difficult decisions – including ceasing its care homes scheme and making staff changes – director Alison Sparkes introduced a suite of new services which are accessible and priced with the local population in mind.
The pharmacy is now working with the local fracture clinic, the medicines management team, and the community mental health and crisis teams, and has developed some interesting partnerships with specific individuals, including an osteopath, a counsellor and an audiologist. A thoughtful use of social media, personalised texts, email reminders and birthday messages have helped to create stronger relationships with existing patients. Meanwhile, an interactive environment inside the pharmacy – including an ‘aromatherapy oil of the week’ – is helping to welcome newcomers.
The pharmacy’s dispensing robot takes centre stage in the store, provoking questions and encouraging further interaction between patients and the pharmacy team. People development has always been a priority for The Health Dispensary, and the team has showed strength and resilience, maintaining morale during a period of great transformation.
Once a financially insecure, low-service performing pharmacy, Bedminster has been transformed into a thriving health and wellbeing hub in Bristol. The relatively small team is embedded into the heart of the community, offering services tailored to the health needs of the local population. As well as piloting a successful NHS-funded pregnancy advisory service, innovative services such as blood-pressure initiative ‘Pulse in the Pub’, their ‘Bemmy Men’s Health’ initiative – with the mayor of Bristol set to headline this year – and a pharmacy-led cold homes referral service, shows that Bedminster engages with, and takes care of, its community.
This is also evident through the unusual local partnerships with local Polish shops, children’s play centres and food outlets. Even the local post office refers patients to Bedminster’s smoking cessation service, while the high street store Wilko signposts customers to their self-care and living aid products. The pharmacy is set to provide an atrial fibrillation screening service targeting at-risk non-English speaking patients, and is working with the British Lung Foundation to tackle cases of sleep apnoea.
- Badham PharmacyBadham is truly considered a pillar of the community – working with schools and libraries, and regularly getting involved in locally organised events. Operating 365 days a year, they provided more than 700 flu vaccinations last winter to local companies alone.
- Buxted PharmacyUckfieldBuxted communicates effectively with its patients, making the most of Facebook to engage with them on a daily basis. Innovative services, such as ‘pharmacist knowledge nuggets’ and its ‘pharmacist chitty’ notifications to housebound patients, help it compete with the multiples.
- Hughes PharmacyEnniskillenOne of the first businesses fully accredited under Northern Ireland’s ‘Health+’, this family-owned pharmacy is focused on healthy living, with monthly good health days and an on-site health and wellbeing advisor to provide tailored services for the local population.
- Whitworth ChemistsMurtonThis Whitworth branch was divided into two premises, with the dispensary separated from retail. But a refit to unite the pharmacy saw prescriptions grow 16% and retail up 44% in the first year alone, while private travel, sexual health and occupational health clinics now produce income of £1,000 per month.
Manager of the Year
When pharmacist Ade Williams claimed on his C+D Awards entry that he “demonstrates by example how to maximise resources and time”, he wasn’t joking. As well as managing Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol, in the last year alone Mr Williams has worked with his local pharmaceutical committee to disseminate learning, shared his experiences as part of the National Pharmacy Association’s leadership programme, and even collaborated with ITV to produce a news item on the pharmacy funding cuts.
As a “big advocate” of exporting the team’s expertise off the premises, he has led his staff into the community. This has involved diet and lifestyle campaigns in local schools, and venturing into nearby pubs – to conduct alcohol, exercise and weight management sessions, as well as the aptly-named ‘Pulse in the Pub’ blood pressure awareness initiative.
The secret to his management success? Effective delegation and team development. He has mentored pre-registration trainees to write articles that were later published, and created a development programme for staff. In the words of Mr Williams: “All my team are leaders. Everybody can do the things I do.”
Mr Patel had a whirlwind 24 months as a regional pharmacy manager for Day Lewis, increasing motivation and performance at every branch he’s landed at. In Braintree, he turned a pharmacy with high staff turnover and stagnant operational performance into an award-finalist, in less than a year. No surprise that he was crowned Day Lewis Pharmacist of the Year in 2016.
He now manages the chain’s pharmacy in Chelmsford, where has been instrumental in securing a 22% growth in NHS items, overseeing a team that annually delivers more than 500 new medicine service reviews, 400 medicines use reviews, and more than 4,500 EPS2 nominations – not to mention generating £8,000 in revenue through patient group directions.
As well as overseeing 11 pharmacies in his area – which he has pushed to achieve the maximum quality payments possible – he still finds time to act as the contract lead for Farleigh Hospice Palliative Care, operating a mini-dispensary, attending clinical commissioning group meetings and managing services in the face of stringent patient deadlines. This work ethic has been reflected in customer letters, Facebook comments and NHS Choices reviews testifying to his professionalism.
- Dalbir AujlaMidcounties Co-operative, Pelsall High StreetIn his first 18 months as manager, Mr Aujla secured his pharmacy a 100% customer loyalty score. He has also taken patient care to the next level – coordinating the chain’s multi-branch participation in healthy living events at a local carnival.
- Samuel FarrowJaysons Pharmacy, Long EatonAs clinical pharmacist manager, Mr Farrow has been instrumental in promoting services such as compliance aids, warfarin monitoring and domiciliary medicines use reviews. He’s even studying for two postgraduate diplomas – in clinical pharmacy, and diabetes – in his spare time.
- Noha El GamelThe Frosts Pharmacy Group, Marston PharmacyIn a matter of months, Ms El Gamel took her branch from “static” sales and “waning” enthusiasm to one that prides itself on patient-focused services. Along the way, she boosted OTC sales by 34% and almost doubled visitors to the pharmacy’s walk-in travel clinic.
- Mithun MakwanaAvicenna Pharmacy, BristolMr Makwana immediately saw the potential of his team, and has used social media, training certificates and monthly quizzes to help them reach their best. The result: a 25% growth in retail sales and many complimentary letters from patients.
- Shirley RedfordPrestwich PharmacyArmed with 28 years’ experience in the business, an open-minded attitude and recent ‘retail specialist’ training, Ms Redford continues to expand the pharmacy’s services – which now include warfarin, ear and foot clinics. There’s even a “mind gym” in the pipeline.
- Mikolaj RerychTout's PharmacyMr Rerych held his team together while they were forced to operate from a Portakabin for four months, as a result of a delayed pharmacy refit. Despite power outages, data issues and the loss of staff, he kept morale high.
Pharmacy Team of the Year
In a part of Bristol with high social deprivation, the Bedminster team have explored a range of innovative ideas to tackle health issues and become a stand-out healthy living pharmacy. Their unique and inspired initiatives have taken the pharmacy from a financially insecure business to a thriving community health and wellbeing hub.
It has also meant their impact is felt well beyond the pharmacy walls, from an innovative ‘Pulse in the Pub’ blood pressure scheme in local drinking establishments, to a ‘cold home’ referral service in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy Service charity. They have allied with a local church to promote a weight referral scheme, and even turned to local e-cigarette shops to help spread the word about their smoking cessation service.
The team also works with other healthcare professionals in academic and social care, piloting an NHS-funded pregnancy advisory service. Their reputation has grown with their successes, as testified by a pharmacy student who flew over from Scotland to request a pre-registration place.
With an upcoming atrial fibrillation screening service targeted at the non-English speaking at-risk population, it looks like this team are only at the start of their healthcare journey.
Once the Frosts team identified the need for walk-in travel clinics, they have never looked back.
Eight pharmacists across three pharmacies have been trained, registered under a patient group direction, and qualified to prescribe certain medications. Their clinics offer immunisations against common diseases – as well as yellow fever – while children over 12 months can receive vaccinations not routinely available on the NHS, such as meningitis B and chickenpox.
In their own words, the service has gone from “strength to strength”, with turnover doubling between 2015 and 2016, thanks to more than 4,700 appointments last year alone. A positive side effect has been the boost to over-the-counter revenue – by 45% in the Banbury branch and 34% in Marston.
The team are now experts on their topics, providing the first port of call for advice for travelling patients. Local GP practices support the clinic, making leaflets for the clinic available in their surgeries.
Patients love the convenience of same-day appointments, while it has in turn decreased the pharmacies’ reliance on NHS revenue, giving the team the confidence to push their service offering further.
- Badham Pharmacy – Collection and delivery driversCheltenhamThe drivers at Badham Pharmacy ensure continuity of patient care by working tirelessly and filling in for each other on sick days. They deliver an average of more than 3,000 items a week, and even venture out in extreme conditions.
- K & K Healthcare Ltd – Kasli PharmacyNuneatonThe Kasli team has a regional record-breaking smoking cessation clinic. They scored the highest number of quits in Warwickshire for 2015-16 – 188 in total – by taking every opportunity to promote the service, while still finding time for 350 flu jabs and presentations to local schools.
- Day Lewis – Shelly ManorBournemouthThis team transformed their offering in under a year. They have all trained as Dementia Friends and offer flu vaccinations as well as a stop smoking service. In addition, their new script management system has seen prescription payment issues drop from 200 a month to just five.
- Well PharmacyLockerbieThe Well team at Lockerbie have more than 100 years’ collective experience working in the branch. They have proved themselves willing and able to go beyond the job remit to assist their customers, including visiting a dementia patient’s house to locate her pills, and accompanying another to the doctor’s surgery.
- Midcounties Co-operative – St John’s Health CentreWalsallSt John’s Health Centre’s staff-run initiatives reach well beyond the pharmacy. They teach children in local schools about healthy eating, while one member is even studying sign language to help her communicate with hard-of-hearing customers.
- The Frosts Pharmacy Group – Oxford Online Pharmacy TeamThis team has embraced the potential for online services while staying true to the company’s 90-year-old values. Moving to a purpose-built distribution centre, they have seen year-on-year turnover increase 20%, and appointed one of their pharmacists to oversee compliance and clinical governance.
The Training and Development Award
This local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) faced a problem: several public health services provided through local pharmacies were threatened with decommissioning, due to a lack of use and poor data. As a result, they set themselves the mission of firing up interest in public health among their members.
Engagement with training events was low. After feedback from one local authority-led session that it was insufficiently pharmacy-focused, the LPC took action by becoming a registered centre for Royal Society of Public Health training delivery, so they could take the lead themselves.
Since then, more than 300 members of staff have been trained up, across 106 pharmacies. The LPC also provides additional related training sessions six times a year, spanning topics as diverse as ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, carers, learning disabilities, and cardiovascular diseases. Each of these is attended by around 80 pharmacy staff.
Pharmacy teams have found the sessions built up their confidence, competence and data to showcase their achievements. They now implement their learning both in-store and in the community, including healthy living promotions in local schools, universities, social groups and tea dances. A group of team members even set up a charity to raise funds for a local cancer unit, following their participation in local running events.
Pharmacy Complete’s managing director Deborah Evans, and its principal associate Michael Holden, have been involved in the development and implementation of the Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) initiative since it launched in 2009.
Their HLP training follows both the NHS Healthcare Leadership model and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s leadership development framework, providing face-to-face leadership workshops, alongside a distance-learning course, with online videos and assessments. They trained more than 1,000 HLP leaders in 2016 alone, with workshop evaluation feedback showing a high average satisfaction rating of 4.8 out of 5.
As a Royal Society of Public Health-accredited training centre, Pharmacy Complete continues to develop their training, reflecting the continually-evolving pharmacy and wider healthcare landscape. Their distance-learning course has supported 600 pharmacy staff – usually healthcare assistants, dispensing assistants or technicians – to become Health Champions. As well as working through their pharmacies, these champions have taken activities into schools, colleges, Sure Start centres, football clubs and places of worship.
The company also provides ‘knowledge into action’ workshops, which have supported hundreds more staff to make every contact with customers count, along with sets of ‘championing health knowledge’ conversation cards covering a range of health issues.
- Badham Pharmacy – Staff training schemeBadham Pharmacy developed a learning strategy to ensure that all staff within the company benefited from training and undertook the qualifications relevant to their position. This not only included pharmacy staff, but their employees in head office and the warehouse, as well as delivery drivers.
- Boots UK – The Boots Healthcare WayBoots reviewed over 500 customer visits to identify ways to improve over-the-counter consultations, especially those where the drug is requested by name. The resulting sale-of-medicines protocol was piloted in 50 branches, before being rolled out group-wide. Ninety-eight percent of staff say it has helped them deliver “safe, patient-centred care”.
- Buxted Pharmacy – Three-year training planBuxted Pharmacy identified that it needed “a three-year plan, owned by the team”. Each member now has the option to learn up to NVQ3 level and receive training from other health professionals, with greater motivation and expertise cited as the reason behind 25% annual business growth.
- Celesio UK – Leading Everyday programmeThis training programme for first-line managers is designed to encourage active leadership within the Lloydspharmacy team. It helps individuals set strategy, build relationships with local stakeholders – such as GPs – and deliver results for patients. An engagement survey found 80% of staff now agree their manager “leads by example”.
- Green Light Healthcare – Pre-registration programmeFeedback from tutors and pharmacy colleagues led these London pharmacies to consider what additional support pre-registration trainees should be offered in independent pharmacies. A team of pharmacists, academics and trainees then created this monthly study programme, featuring expert speakers. It is now being adopted in other cities.
- Health Education England; London and South East – Tutor trainingUnlike other health professions, there is no formal approval process for pharmacists to become pre-registration tutors. So this Health Education England regional team piloted a core e-learning programme, mapped to General Pharmaceutical Council guidance for tutors, and emphasising multiprofessional interactions across healthcare.
- London Borough of Hillingdon Public Health, Mr Viral Doshi FRPharmS – Pharmacy services trainingPharmacist Mr Doshi’s unique role within a local authority means he can provide a strong lead on training community pharmacy teams on the area’s public health priorities. This has included developing a Champix patient group direction, with a “staggering” 94% of pharmacies attending the training session.
Online Initiative of the Year
This South Wales chain of seven pharmacies devised its online strategy after recognising that traditional patient engagement methods were simply not enough to get people to really think about their health and the services available in pharmacies. Using profiling tools, they were first able to isolate specific target audiences on social media, as well as build up their customer contact databases.
The strategy then using producing informative and engaging posts centred around images, hashtags, and self-made films, to generate interest and grow followers. The results speak for themselves – the campaigns have directly driven a 400% increase in visitor numbers to the Mayberry Pharmacy website. The chain also saw demand for its services grow by more than 30%, with 25% of these customers having never used a Mayberry Pharmacy before.
An online stop smoking campaign – which saw a film made by one of the pharmacy teams shared almost 9,000 times on Facebook and Twitter – resulted in participation numbers for its cessation service growing by 125%, with the success rate for quitting jumping from 25% to 79%.
Day Lewis has been providing flu vaccines to patients for more than five years. With a list of repeat customers dating back to when it was purely a private service – the “vast majority” of who were keen to receive their vaccination in a pharmacy rather than a GP surgery – the pharmacies involved were keen to be more proactive in their management of patients. The chain therefore set about designing a customer management system to enable patients to register with their local pharmacy to receive reminders about current – and future – flu vaccination services.
The resulting web-based registration system ensures Day Lewis’s 50,000 flu patients get reminders – either via email, text message or phone, depending on their preference – over the course of the year to ensure they present in the autumn to get their vaccine. The system has also enabled pharmacy teams to be targeted in their approach to flu, by looking out for appropriate patients all year round and adding them to the system.
It even has benefits beyond the pharmacy – the system has enabled pharmacists to engage with local GP surgeries to discuss plans for the upcoming flu season, ensuring they work in partnership, rather than in competition.
- CDsmartTaskeel Khan decided that paper-based controlled drug recording had no place in a modern pharmacy. In order to reduce staff stress and improve patient safety, he invested time and money to develop cloud-based electronic controlled drugs register CDsmart.
- Celesio UK – eLearning PlatformCelesio UK took two separate e-learning platforms from Lloydspharmacy and AAH Pharmaceuticals, and consolidated them into one cohesive system. The vision was to move away from storing materials in multiple places, while the team recognised the need for interactive learning and accurate activity recording.
- the Hub pharmacy – KPI reporting softwareReporting weekly trading data from pharmacies used to be a time-consuming manual process. So the Hub team developed the ‘MPR’ software with a local developer as a bespoke solution. It provides a web-based interface, with specific boxes to be populated by the pharmacy team each week.
- My Locum ChoiceThe pharmacists behind this business recognised that the cost of hiring locums through agencies is expensive, while sourcing them directly can be time-consuming. Their online booking platform enables pharmacy owners to avoid both, by viewing the profiles of hundreds of locums.
- PharmData.co.ukThis website presents freely-available NHS information on every pharmacy in England in the form of accessible graphs. It enables independent contractors to easily identify the best-performing pharmacies in their area, see how their pharmacy is performing in comparison, and tailor their business accordingly.
- Wyvern Pharmacy – Online strategyThis new pharmacy created a comprehensive online strategy to generate a “buzz” around the brand. With daily posts on Facebook and Twitter, health campaign promotions, humorous trivia, and a repeat prescription service accessible via smartphone, it’s no surprise it has been rated five stars by users every time.
Community Pharmacist of the Year
Ade Williams is the only independent superintendent in the south west who oversees two healthy living pharmacy-accredited pharmacies. He has led a young team to deliver personalised care to their community, and the name Bedminister Pharmacy is now synonymous with going the extra mile for patients.
Mr Williams is an outspoken champion for the sector. He has advocated for pharmacists managing long-term health conditions through writing articles for local publications and speaking in the House of Commons, and has even shared his experiences by addressing the Pharmacy Show 2016.
He has used his independent prescriber training to forge links with five local GP practices, and broken down professional barriers so other pharmacist colleagues can get involved too. He has successfully managed potentially contentious issues – such as delivering NHS flu vaccinations – to the extent that one surgery has even offered the pharmacy their vaccine stock if needed.
His attempts to forge links don’t stop at the surgery; he has arranged meetings with regional NHS leads to discuss greater integration, and helped design care pathways that utilise community pharmacist expertise.
As manager of Llanidloes Pharmacy, Dylan Jones has a successful history in delivering patient-focused services which improve the health and wellbeing of the community he serves. Examples of his good work are a smoking cessation service that was among the first trial sites in Wales – with one of the highest quit rates – and instigating patient indication labelling for all prescriptions at the local GP practice.
Mr Jones undertook his independent prescriber training in 2016, working in partnership with the local practice, and went on to establish what he described as a “pioneering” local prescribing service. As well as allowing patients to access a prescriber on Saturdays, early evidence suggests it has improved public access to treatments, while reducing GP workload and A&E admissions.
To ensure his team have “headroom” to reach their potential, he developed a learning programme that enabled members of staff to train up as qualified dispensers and Healthy Living Pharmacy champions, as well as arming them with expert knowledge on vitamins and disability aids.
Outside of the pharmacy, he also leads on contractual and professional issues across all 11 Dudley Taylor Pharmacies in Wales, and still finds time for roles on various pharmacy and healthcare steering groups.
- James HindSuperdrug, New PiccadillyMr Hind channelled his passion for safety into his work with the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Collaborative, which develops interventions to reduce errors in community pharmacies. The result? Error-reporting has increased threefold in his pharmacy, and his team now reflect on their practice if things go wrong.
- Helen HirstBoots UK, Donegall PlaceWorking at Boots’ flagship Belfast branch, Ms Hirst is used to an intense walk-in business and an ever-expanding demand for services. To this end, she has undertaken training in diverse travel and cervical cancer vaccinations, and has a reputation for researching patient queries in her time off.
- Imran Mahmoodthe Hub pharmacy, SouthowramMr Mahmood’s achievements include securing a highly-prised ‘excellent’ General Pharmaceutical Council inspection rating, getting involved in local charity fundraising, and strengthening ties with local GP surgeries – which led to him training and assessing registrar GPs.
- Mithun MakwanaAvicenna Pharmacy, BishopsworthMr Makwana’s patient interactions have had life-changing outcomes. One customer told him that his advice during a medicines use review had led to surgery to correct a “ticking time bomb” of a heart condition, while he assisted another during an asthma attack outside his pharmacy.
- Michael McWhirterDay Lewis, HytheMichael McWhirter balances his roles as regional pharmacy manager for Day Lewis across Wiltshire and Hampshire and as committee member for Hampshire and Isle of Wight LPC, with his day job as a pharmacist manager. What links all these positions is his drive to motivate staff with training, feedback and multi professional collaboration.
- Ian TotoCray Hill PharmacyMr Toto’s “greatest passion” is “developing the next generation of pharmacists”, reflected by the fact that all his pre-registration trainees have gone on to become successful managers in their own right. He regularly attends clinical meetings at local GP practices, and helped design a CPPE flu vaccination training module.
Pre-registration Graduate of the Year
For most trainee pharmacists, their pre-registration year can be daunting enough. But Mr McCaffrey found time to set up an initiative with a local GP surgery, monitoring patients with hypertension in South Norwood who had not been seen at the surgery for over a year. Working outside his normal hours when required, he arranged to talk to every patient to understand why they were unable to see their GP.
Every individual had a medicines use review, leading to improved medicines adherence. Mr McCaffrey then helped them each create a healthcare plan to meet their specific needs. Over the final three months of the project, 64% of participating patients saw a drop in their blood pressure.
He also trained the pharmacy’s staff to talk to patients about salt intake and other lifestyle changes which could help reduce blood pressure. During a one-day campaign, the team took 80 blood pressure measurements, 20 of which were high enough to require referrals to a GP.
The pharmacy has now become the first port of call for these patients, as they know their problems will be dealt with directly. In the words of Mr McAffrey: "I now have a much better understanding of what the core principles of a successful pharmacy service should be."
Mr Mole became a champion of patient safety in his pre-registration year, improving operational standards in the dispensary through monthly patient safety reviews. His work has safeguarded some of the pharmacy's most vulnerable patients, while upskilling and empowering Mr Mole's pharmacy colleagues. He has also been an ambassador for the profession to local secondary schools.
- Shivani PatelBoots UKMs Patel seeks out opportunities to discuss patients' diet, and explain how these affect their health and wellbeing. She tailors her interventions to address individual patient needs, taking account of their lifestyle and culture. This has involved referring patients requiring further support to local smoking and alcohol cessation services, as well as to Diabetes UK.
- Daniel TurnerCelesio UKMr Tuner’s sense of teamwork shone through in his pre-registration year, helping new and junior employees to settle in, while “taking time to remind staff why we're here”. He built strong bonds with both local GPs and an elderly regular patient – who relied on the pharmacy for support.
- Joseph FranchiWell, The SurgeryMr Franchi has worked at the same branch since the age of 16, giving him a clear view of the challenges pharmacy faces. A semi-professional player for Ebbw Vale Rugby Football Club, he has put his knowledge into practice to support patients and his teammates with their fitness-related queries and sporting injuries.
- Manpreet KaurMidcounties Co-operativeHaving split her pre-registration between hospital and community, Ms Kaur worked on a project ensuring the summary care record was implemented across each of the chain’s 33 branches, in just two months. This involved reviewing the information governance for each pharmacy, while still finding time to promote commissioned services.
- Richard Joshua MouleWell, CaereithinWith flu season approaching, Mr Moule took the opportunity to review the pharmacy's vaccination service to identify areas of improvement. He then spearheaded a new booking and delivery system, leading to the branch’s most successful flu campaign yet.
- Sumaira MalikGreen Light pharmacyMs Malik got stuck in right from the start of her pre-registration year, whether it be fixing the printer or resolving a clinical matter. As a level two smoking advisor, she provided both physical and emotional support to patients, as well as twice using her first aid skills in the pharmacy.
- Thorrun GovindSykes ChemistThroughout her pre-registration year and beyond, Ms Govind has passionately and actively promoted the profession. This has not only taken the form of print and social media, but even local radio – where she uses her position as 'resident pharmacist' for BBC Radio Lancashire to bust pharmacy myths.
- Jee Nie OngBedminster PharmacyAs part of the ‘Know Your Numbers’ blood pressure screening campaign, Ms Ong organised and held screening sessions in a local pub, enabling the team to reach people who would never enter the pharmacy. By stepping out of her “comfort zone”, she received positive feedback from first-time customers.
Pharmacy Design Award
“Modern, interesting, friendly and professional” was the design brief for Whitworth Chemists in Murton, County Durham. Managing director Jay Badenhorst took the opportunity to bring the whole team together under one roof, after working for many years in premises across the street from each other.
Curves, a modern colour scheme and innovative materials were used in a layout that includes three consultation rooms, with adjoining accessible toilets, plus a methadone dispensing area. An expanded dispensary allows for prescription growth, while the waiting area was decorated by a large-scale wall feature of a silver birch forest. The team even asked customers about how to reflect the community within the pharmacy, resulting in historical prints of the local coal mine on the consultation room walls.
The pharmacy is fully accessible, with electric doors and access to car parking. The new space accommodates private travel and sexual health clinics, and retail sales have increased, despite a small reduction in shelf space.
Relocating to shared premises with a GP practice meant TH & L Jones could finally resolve a bottleneck in their previous premises – a single pharmacy computer station.
The situation had caused frustration and delays, so the team – led by pharmacy superintendent Linda Jones – decided to invest in a compact dispensing robot. The pharmacy now has four dispensing stations on the front counter, with chutes from the robot, allowing for quick and efficient processing. The new design means the pharmacy has been able to almost double its number of prescriptions, with only one extra member of staff.
Two new consultation rooms are in good use – one for complementary therapies, consultations and provision of emergency hormonal contraception; the other for supervised consumption and needle exchange. The counter also gives easier access for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
While the relocation from a parade of shops into a health centre means they have rethought their focus and no longer offer gifts or hair colours, they have greatly increased their sales of medicines and independent living aids.
Director Perdeep Tanday jumped at the chance to relocate his corner shop pharmacy into a purpose-built healthcare centre, building on 25 years of “excellent” relations with local GPs. Carefully-chosen charcoal-grained wood-laminate walls, a white and orange colour scheme, LED lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows met the brief of a bright, “stunningly beautiful, relaxing and comfortable” environment.
The pharmacy invested in new technology, with a Willach Consis robot to streamline dispensing, which has the side benefit of entertaining waiting customers. Two consulting rooms – one with a sink, couch and seating for four – allow for enhanced services such as supervised consumption, needle exchange, chlamydia testing, and provision of emergency hormonal contraception.
Customers were “spellbound” by the new layout, where they can see the team working in plain view, with an open-plan counter and the pharmacist positioned to the front of the dispensary. The set-up encourages team working, as the staff move between different work stations.
- HA McParlandColindaleWhen the 1970s estate on which HA McParland pharmacy was located was slated for demolition, it was time to find a new home. A bare shell site allowed general manager Tim Studdert-Kennedy to start from scratch in designing a well-organised dispensary and shop, with smart consultation rooms that allow for expanded services.
- Pearl Chemist GroupFairoak PharmacyAn “open, bright and spacious” refit put the emphasis on clinical services in this previously cramped high street pharmacy, according to operations manager Ketan Agravat. A new, bigger consultation room, a larger and better-organised dispensary, and brighter fittings, have all helped increase footfall.
- St George’s PharmacyLondonA row of concrete garages doesn’t sound like a promising site for a pharmacy – but superintendent Atul Patel spotted the buildings’ potential when looking for new premises. He went for a bold, “vintage industrial” look, fitting the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle area, while considering the diverse population and disability access.
- The Health DispensaryNeathIn contrast to the “shiny” look of many pharmacies, director Alison Sparkes opted for a “rustic” look, with reclaimed wood and quirky design touches to celebrate “the magic of the apothecary and the history of community pharmacy”. The flexible layout allows for complementary treatments alongside dispensing.
- Warman-FreedLondonThis long-established high street pharmacy needed to retain its heritage, while making its pharmacist more visible, said managing director Farah Ali. The decision to rebalance the beauty and health offering – to emphasise healthcare – paid off, with 13% increased prescription growth, while new consulting rooms and wider aisles improved accessibility.
Pharmacy Staff Member of the Year
Ms Jamieson is a true ambassador for Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol. As the pharmacy’s delivery driver, she has brought great professionalism and dedication to her role, while providing excellent care for patients.
Described by colleagues as “conscientious and caring, kind and fun”, she ensures that the pharmacy’s health initiatives and messages reach throughout the community. She has taken the lead on its ‘winter cold homes’ campaign, identifying vulnerable patients from among her clients and signposting them to the local surgery for help.
She also helps the pharmacy to understand the needs of these patients, and goes beyond the call of duty to provide a personalised service, sometimes posting letters and parcels, buying a pint of milk, or even visiting people in hospital. No wonder her customers always give her the highest feedback ratings.
And it’s not only patients who benefit, Ms Jamieson has played a pivotal role in fostering good relations between the pharmacy and local GP surgeries, community nursing teams, and social care and secondary care organisations.
Ms Cobon had no pharmacy experience when she joined Jaysons Pharmacy, but has worked her way up to become shop supervisor, overseeing five staff. She has responsibility for the counter, ensuring a prompt and seamless service, as well as buying stock and recruiting customers for the pharmacy’s many clinical services.
Smoking cessation services are a key part of the pharmacy’s work – they are so successful that at one point the pharmacy contributed to over 6% of Nottingham's quit figures. Ms Cobon works closely with the smoking cessation advisors, and ensures paperwork is up to date. They now track performance and goal setting for patients, and she organises health promotion campaigns, armed with recent training to help deliver diabetes and obesity risk assessments.
In her own words, she treats patients “like family members”, listening to their problems and greeting them by name. When it comes to staff, she has set up quarterly appraisals and training, helping to ensure the pharmacy has a highly trained team with a good skill mix.
It all helps to create a pharmacy with a well-earned reputation, backed by positive NHS Choices ratings that help it win new contracts and pilot new services.
- Rebecca BirchKnight’s PharmacyDispenser Ms Birch spends time with patients on a one-to-one basis, helping with medicines problems, as well as overseeing the pharmacy’s smoking cessation programme. Her professionalism was called on during a recent flight, when she helped an asthmatic woman suffering allergic reactions, calming her and helping administer medication.
- Kathy HoareSuperdrugMs Hoare, a pharmacy technician, undergoes additional training in her own time. She has become a Dementia Friend, a first aider, and a Healthy Living Champion – not to mention recently taking a course in bipolar disorder to help her better understand the condition.
- Vildana Kadic-HammoudaBootsPharmacy advisor Ms Kadic-Hammouda ensured patient care over the Christmas period was uninterrupted, despite emergency structural work on the building, which restricted public access. She organised the team to make sure all prescriptions were filled and processes followed, so their high level of customer service could be maintained.
- Sarah MaySummersdale PharmacyAs dispenser/checker, Ms May looks after the repeat prescription service and care home deliveries. A Dementia Champion, she has also helped over 100 patients quit smoking, and asked to be trained to prescribe Champix as part of the cessation service.
- Vijaya RabadiaS+S ChemistDispenser Ms Rabadia is a hard working, efficient and well-liked team member who always has time for a chat with customers. She created a streamlined system which ensures prescriptions are ready within 24 hours, and that patients only order the medicines they need.
- Rebecca WardTesco PharmacyDispensing assistant Ms Ward has trained to deliver healthy living checks, along with other services such as cholesterol testing and diabetes screening. She often attends training and workshops in her own time to develop her skills, and helps patients manage their medicines and prepare their monitored dosage trays.
Health Initiative of the Year
The aims of this scheme were simple: to increase detection of undiagnosed atrial fibrillation (AF), improve anticoagulation prescribing in diagnosed patients, and facilitate early referrals to a specialist centre.
To do this, the trust produced an eye-catching poster to display in pharmacies, and recruited and trained 10 community pharmacists to undertake AF screening – the first scheme of its kind to do so.
More than 590 patients – over 65-year-olds with associated risk factors – were eventually enrolled onto the service, with 54 of these having possible AF detected on their electrocardiogram test.
Fifteen were eventually diagnosed with AF, with most not displaying any symptoms that would have enabled them to be diagnosed in any other way. They were offered anticoagulation therapy – greatly reducing their risk of stroke – and left with a “greater understanding of the diverse and important role of the pharmacist”.
And it wasn’t only the patients that benefited – pharmacists involved improved their understanding of AF, forged links with the trust’s arrhythmia care team, and proved they can have a vital role in detection and screening.
Facebook, YouTube, McDonalds – not only are they some of the biggest brands on the planet, they have also played a role in the success of Mayberry Pharmacy’s Caerphilly smoking cessation service.
Led by senior pharmacist Elin Hooper, the team used information from the Welsh government and their own patient data to size up the smoking problem in their area. They then examined which previous smoking services had succeeded and failed, and soon realised a standardised approach would never work.
Instead, they designed a bespoke service – where Ms Hooper sends out post-consultation text messages of encouragement – and set up an out-of-hours support line. She has even helped patients install tools on their phones, such as a video of their children urging them not to give up. Securing partnerships with McDonalds, Tesco and Aldi, not to mention a self-made YouTube video – has helped the team to raise awareness of the service in their area. The results speak for themselves, with nearly 80% of participants giving up for good – topping Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s league table of quit rates.
- Boots UK, Middlebrook Retail Park – Meningitis B vaccination serviceAfter a successful influenza flu jab service, this Boots branch was ready to take their vaccination offering to the next level. Their request led Boots head office to develop a private meningitis B service, allowing the branch to administer more than 800 of these vaccinations themselves.
- Cwm Taf University Health Board – Child and adolescent mental health serviceThis vital service in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf had no specialist pharmacist support – until the arrival of Louise Manousos and Emma Brierley. These independent prescribers implemented an e-prescribing system, improved the patient experience and strengthened ties with local pharmacies.
- NHS England Cheshire and Merseyside with Pharmacy Complete – Healthy living pharmaciesWith most health indicators for this region below national averages, pharmacy networks and the local authority turned to the healthy living pharmacy (HLP) scheme for a solution. With NHS England funding, 113 pharmacies were HLP-accredited within 10 months, with another 176 “well on their way”.
- Thomas Pharmacy – Sexual health initiativeFollowing a 49% rise in STIs in Barking and Dagenham, Reena Kanda felt her pharmacy could do more. They secured educational literature, established a C-card scheme on the premises, and promoted this intensively. The results? “Overwhelmingly positive” feedback and increased engagement from young patients.
- University of Surrey – Clinical intervention serviceThis innovative collaboration saw the university partner with nine pharmacies in Portsmouth to deliver expanded health checks to patients recovering from prostate cancer. More than 110 patients benefited from physical and functional tests, which could trigger a GP referral via PharmOutcomes.
- Written Medicine – Bilingual pharmacy dispensing labelsThis cloud-based solution allows pharmacies to accurately translate and print bilingual dispensing labels and A4 summary sheets. Its database contains thousands of directions-of-use phrases and medical products mapped to relevant BNF warnings, and is currently being academically evaluated across 11 pharmacies.