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What these C+D Award winners say about the state of community pharmacy

James Waldron gave the opening speech at the ceremony at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel

Editor James Waldron reflects on last night’s winners, and what they reveal about community pharmacy in 2019

From the pharmacist who spotted a patient’s sepsis symptoms to the pharmacy that set up its own drug and alcohol service when the nearest prescriber skipped town, the winners of last night's C+D Awards were all about showing initiative.

It hasn’t been an easy year for the community pharmacy sector – with businesses big and small struggling to cope with ongoing funding cuts in England, and stress levels and workload ever rising.

Against this backdrop, the C+D Awards were an essential reminder that pharmacy teams can still thrive in times of adversity.

Take Shabbir Mellick, the Boots pharmacist who has found time to host anticoagulation clinics, write self-help books and train as a behavioural therapy coach. No wonder the C+D Awards judges praised his “impressive commitment and willingness to look for other opportunities to provide a better healthcare experience for patients”.

Or there's Knights Pharmacy branch manager Amy Harper, who the judges singled out as “thinking outside the box” when she set up a scheme to vaccinate teachers at two local primary schools.

I would argue that the Awards winners and shortlisted entries are the real headlines of 2019. They are the reason we extended voting for the Above and Beyond Award to two weeks this year – with the entries being viewed a phenomenal 20,000 times – and they are a reminder that celebrating excellence in pharmacy is more essential now than ever.

But most importantly, they prove once again that community pharmacy is home to some of the most talented, resourceful and caring healthcare professionals anywhere in the NHS.

On behalf of C+D, thank you to everyone who entered, all 675 of you who attended, and each reader and organisation who has supported the Awards over recent weeks. I look forward to seeing you all next year.

Read about all the C+D Award-winning and shortlisted entries – including finding out for the first time who came runner up in each of the 14 categories.

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