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Well pharmacist: Patients 'spurred me on' to stand in EU elections

Sadik Al-Hassan: Pharmacists and pharmacy staff have unrivalled access to their local communities
Sadik Al-Hassan: Pharmacists and pharmacy staff have unrivalled access to their local communities

A Well pharmacist has told C+D he was inspired to stand as a member of European parliament after conversations with his patients.

Sadik Al-Hassan, manager of the Well Pharmacy in Kingswood, Bristol, is one of six Labour candidates representing the south west of England in the European elections, it was announced last Thursday (April 18).

Speaking to C+D exclusively this morning, Mr Al-Hassan – who was shortlisted for Manager of the Year and the Above and Beyond Award at the C+D Awards last year – said he had been “spurred on” to stand in the elections on May 23 by conversations with his patients.

“We have an unrivalled access to our patients, which is one of the things that makes pharmacy so important to healthcare, and also makes pharmacists a fantastic mouthpiece for the community,” he told C+D.

While he is unable to speak about what policies he will be standing for until the Labour party’s official manifesto is published, Mr Al-Hassan said “politicians would kill” to have the same level of conversations with the public that pharmacists and pharmacy staff have every day.

“The reason I wanted to do this MEP role is not just because it's a fantastic opportunity for me, but I genuinely think it is great to have that level of representation [in the profession] and be able to influence those decisions, for however long we're in Europe.

“At the moment, our communities are a little bit divided and I feel a pharmacist is a perfect person to heal our communities and speak up for what people want.”

Mr Al-Hassan said Well has been supportive of his political ambitions, particularly his boss – regional development manager Louis Purchase – who he is hoping to represent in his south west constituency. But he expects juggling his political ambitions and managing the best outcomes for patients will be a “constant time management struggle”.

“I am more than up for the challenge,” he stressed.

Mr Al-Hassan's political views do not represent those of Well.

Mr Al-Hassan’s Well branch is up for five gongs at this year’s C+D Awards: Community Pharmacist of the Year; Pharmacy Team of the Year; GP Partnership; Health Initiative; and Pre-registration Graduate of the Year.

Do you think pharmacists should be more politically engaged?

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

6th in the Labour list for South West England. I hope you weren't counting on a political career as an escape from pharmacy

Leon The Apothecary, Student

May I also recommend you have your Union sorted out, in my experience having that safety net will ensure you'd be able to continue free speech.

I have witnessed stories of Well disingeniously shutting down critics of the pharmacy industry.

Otherwise, I wish him all the best in his endeavours in the current political chaos.

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