The Pharmacy Business Awards on Wednesday (23) shone a light on the critical role community pharmacy plays in an NHS which continues to struggle against a dearth of funds and overwhelming patient demand.
In front of an audience of pharmacy heads, pharma company executives and politicians, including Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee and health minister Ben Gummer, the awards at the Park Plaza Hotel in London provided a timely reminder of community pharmacy’s value.
Thirteen awards were handed to community pharmacists and their teams. The headline award, the Pharmacy Business of the Year, was won by Lindsey & Gilmour pharmacy in Hawick, Scotland, for their outstanding all-round service. Indeed, it was a night of double celebration for the pharmacy as its pharmacist Helene Jaffray was named Public Health Pharmacist of the Year.
The Pharmacy Business Medicines Optimisation Award went to Lewis Pharmacy in Exmouth, the Pharmacy Business Community Award was won by P&S Chemist in Ilford, Essex, while Day Lewis pharmacy in Ledbury were named Pharmacy Team of the Year.
The Patient Services Award went to JM McGill in Doncaster, the Pre-Reg Pharmacist of the Year was Craig Alexander from Manor Pharmacy, the Health & Beauty Pharmacy Award was won by Day Lewis Pharmacy at Harrods, while Sylvia Williams Chemist won the Natural Healthcare Pharmacy Award.
The Innovation Award went to Banwell Village Pharmacy, the Pharmacy Assistant Award was won by Rose O’Hara at Patel’s Chemist and the Pharmacy Chain of the Year was secured by Morningside Pharmacy. The Enterprise Award was won by Skills4.org.uk.
In a rousing speech, Gummer insisted the government was committed to ensuring pharmacy has an integral role in the NHS and emphasised the importance of the profession’s collaboration with general practice.
“GPs and commissioners are increasingly recognising that collaboration with community pharmacists can really help to reduce the burden on busy GP practices and emergency departments,” he said.
“The secretary of state (Jeremy Hunt) recently outlined how some GP practices are helping to deliver seven-day care by making better use of pharmacists and their teams. It is really great to see the medical and pharmacy professions working so closely together.
“We strongly support NHS England’s initiative which will see clinical pharmacists working alongside GPs as an integral part of the practice team.
“Working in a GP practice will be a great opportunity for pharmacists to optimise the use of medicines, at the same time as providing health promoting messages and improving health outcomes especially for those patients with long term conditions.
“It is also a real opportunity to better integrate the contribution of community pharmacy with general practice through pharmacist to pharmacist professional relationships.”