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Juggling pharmacy, family and health events at a mosque

Taseen Iqbal: "I make the effort to see patients there and then – otherwise you might lose them."
Taseen Iqbal: "I make the effort to see patients there and then – otherwise you might lose them."

Taseen Iqbal's expanding healthcare commitments have made him one of C+D's 'Best of the Best'

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 last seven weeks, we’ve been 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 Taseen Iqbal, who scooped the C+D Award in 2010.

What made him a winner?

Mr Iqbal worked hard to develop services when he joined Modi’s Pharmacy in Dudley, West Midlands. These included language-specific smoking cessation services, a needle exchange, chlamydia testing and alcohol misuse support. He played a key role in many of these, and helped to evaluate pharmacy supervised consumption services in the area. No surprise that the pharmacy saw its script volume rise 15% after his arrival.

He was tenacious about smoking cessation, and supported an 85-year-old patient who had previously claimed there was no point in stopping at his age. The man eventually quit with Mr Iqbal’s help, and found walking much easier as a result.

His desire to make the pharmacy reach its full potential didn’t stop at services, and he also suggested reorganising the store itself, moving a large gondola to create more room and seating space for patients.

Mr Iqbal's top tip

“We don't do appointments for things like smoking cessation services, because a lot of the time patients don't come back,” he said a year after winning the C+D Award. “I always make the effort to see them there and then – even if it's only just for five minutes – otherwise you might lose them.”

What’s he up to now?

It’s all about finding a balance between work, pharmacy and family life for Mr Iqbal, who has married, bought a pharmacy with two business partners, and completed an independent prescriber course since he won his award in 2010 – an achievement he describes as a “big milestone”.

He still works one day a week at Modi’s Pharmacy, saying: “I couldn’t let it go.” But he splits his remaining working time, spending two days a week at the local clinical commissioning group. He also works as a pre-registration trainer for Propharmace, alongside his commitments at the new premises which he co-owns: Pleck Pharmacy in Walsall.

The independent prescribing scheme was a big focus last year, and his pharmacy was also a pathfinder site for care home prescribing.

“The rest of the time I’m focused on family,” he says. However, he also finds the energy to work with a local youth organisation, “and where possible I help out with health events at the local mosque”.

Read our profile of C+D's 'Best of the Best' 2009 award-winner Michael Maguire here

Did you enter the C+D Awards this year?

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I wish i had his energy and drive! What's he on?  I want some !!! 

Amal England, Public Relations

Mr Iqbal's achievements are laudable and his story makes good reading. But, being an IP, does he now appreciate the benefit of being able to book appointments for services rather than not having an appointment system, for example, the smoking cessation service? I understand that his pharmacy will be making many appointments for services, but i do think pharmacy should move away from this 'no appointments necessary' banner, especially for professional services. I have always felt that this 'go to your local pharmacist, without an appointment ' is damaging the professionalism of pharmacy- which other profession offers a free, no appointment necessary system?

Job of the week

Pre-registration Pharmacists
West London, Surrey, Hampshire, Ken
On application