Ms Arikawe, who the judges described as the “multi-award-winning superstar superintendent” pharmacist at The Priory Community Pharmacy in Dudley, picked up the Excellence in Healthcare award, for “transforming the pharmacy into one that operates right out of the community…to deliver care where people are”.
Mr Williams, superintendent at Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol, was a joint winner in the Excellence in Primary Care category. Judges commended him for keeping in touch with GPs to improve services, proving “that when communities and clinicians work together, unstoppable improvements can occur”.
The awards recognise NHS staff who “go above and beyond the call of duty to make the NHS a better service” and entrants have to be nominated by an MP.
Ms Arikawe and Mr Williams were crowned winners of their respective regions – the Midlands and the South West – last month, but went on to scoop national recognition at yesterday’s event.
Ms Arikawe was nominated by Independent Group MP for Dudley North, Ian Austin, and recognised for her multiple C+D Award wins – including being crowned Best of the Best at the 2017 C+D Awards.
Mr Williams, another multi-C+D Award winner, was nominated by Labour MP for Bristol South, Karin Smyth, who described him as “a great example of a pharmacist who really cares about his community”.
“He keeps in touch with GPs to improve services and is always publicising important health campaigns,” she added.
“Flying the flag for pharmacy”
Speaking to C+D this morning (July 11), Ms Arikawe said she was “completely shocked” to hear her name being called at the event.
“It’s amazing that pharmacy is being appreciated and acknowledged at such a high level,” she said.
“I was pleased to have been nominated by my MP, as I feel like we represent not just our pharmacy or local community, but the profession as a whole.”
Mr Williams echoed Ms Arikawe’s sentiments, telling C+D that receiving recognition beyond the regional level almost “felt like a step too far”.
“I got the sense in the room that there is a real appreciation for what pharmacy teams do. The way community pharmacy is viewed and valued has definitely changed,” he said.
Both winners pledged to continue to fly the flag for community pharmacy, with Ms Arikawe planning to celebrate her win “when I’ve got used to it”.
Now in its second year, the NHS Parliamentary Awards are organised by NHS England, NHS Improvement and events company DODS. It is supported by FUJIFILM, the Premier League, Biocon and PVC MedAlliance.