Community pharmacy extravaganzaThe 2013 Pharmacy Business Awards shone the spotlight firmly on pharmacists across the UK during an evening of intense celebration. The occasion once again highlighted that pharmacy is rising to the challenges of the new NHS...
A glittering evening at the Park Plaza Hotel in London was an appropriate setting for a night of celebration and recognition of all those unsung healthcare heroes across the UK - community pharmacists.
The 13th Pharmacy Business Awards, organised by the Asian Media and Marketing Group, attracted about 900 guests and some of the healthcare sector's most influential figures, including Dr James Kingsland, national clinical lead for the Department of Health's implementation programmes for clinical commissioning, professor Richard Parish, chair of the Pharmacy and Public Health Forum, and Ash Soni, pharmacy's sole representative on the NHS Future Forum and recently appointed to an expert group of healthcare professionals who are looking at ways of strengthening the NHS Constitution.
An all-star healthcare cast was not quite completed by the presence of Lord Howe as chief guest, the Pharmacy Minister pulling out through illness, but Dr Dan Poulter, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, was more than an adequate replacement.
He spoke positively about community pharmacy and what it has to offer a new, patient-centric NHS which puts the accent on preventative care rather than reactive treatment.
"All too often we forget the millions of successes that happen in our NHS, public health and in social care, mainly through the efforts of dedicated front-line healthcare professionals and teams like the people who are here tonight," he said.
"In more than 65 years pharmacists and their teams have been looking after people's health and well-being, helping them with their medicines and providing them with support and advice on a whole range of issues.
"That is why pharmacy should always be seen as an integral part of the our NHS and why people are increasingly choosing to use their pharmacy because of their convenience and accessibility, their opening hours which are much more in tune with the needs of patients. And of course, the non-threatening patient environment you provide."
Poulter went on to insist that pharmacy has "fostered an environment that embraces change and innovation." He added: "Some pharmacies are making a real effort to embrace the concept of delivering public health services and over 700 have turned their pharmacies into Healthy Living Pharmacies."
In what was a thinly-veiled note of caution however, he intimated that not all pharmacists across the UK are immersing themselves in the public health agenda. "I would like to see every pharmacy in every part of the country pro-actively engaging in public health, helping to make a real difference to the health of the local community," he said.
"Vitally important is we need to transform the way we deliver services so people with long-term conditions, disabilities, all patients, are better supported in their own homes and in their communities.
"If we're going to meet that challenge, we've got to move away from those traditional workforce models that have been about picking up the pieces in the hospital when things go wrong."
Shailesh Solanki, the executive editor of Pharmacy Business, insisted that community pharmacy "is showcasing its value and can play a bigger role in public health," the emphasis very firmly falling on the word 'bigger.' "With the £20 billion in efficiency savings the NHS needs to make, pharmacy can be a natural partner in creating a healthcare system that will not only survive but thrive in the decades to come.
Community pharmacies operate at the heart of our communities," he said. "Whether it's on the High Street or on a deprived housing estate, pharmacies are easily accessible to the vast majority of the population, touching the lives of millions of patients each day. "Their interaction with patients makes them ideally placed to treat a host of conditions, from minor ailments to the early detection of long term diseases.
"And pharmacy has daily successes in making health interventions and helping patients live healthier lives. Smoking cessation clinics have helped thousands of patients quit smoking across the country, a valuable service that will no doubt keep people healthy and out of hospital.
"The early detection of diabetes has also been a great success, where thousands of patients have detected and controlled the disease at an early stage. And the New Medicine Service has helped patients recover after severe illness and better manage their long-term conditions." Keith Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East, spoke about the awards' chosen charity, Silver Star, which campaigns to raise awareness of diabetes. Vaz is the founder patron of the charity.
Shyaamal Solanki also made a speech about Silver Star and its efforts to raise the public's awareness about the disease. An impressive £6,265 was raised on the night. "Diabetes is a life-threatening disease. There are 3 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 850,000 people who have the condition - but don't know it," he said. "Globally, diabetes affects 246 million people and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025. It is estimated to be the fifth leading cause of mortality in the world "British South Asians are at the highest risk of type 2 diabetes. They are six times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than Europeans. "Silver Star has been able to test more than 28,000 people for diabetes. Their mobile units travel the UK, going to companies and community events to test people for free for diabetes. "The funds raised will help to increase the number of mobile units which travel to local community groups, work places and religious places. These units will offer free tests to those who wish to test for diabetes and will also raise awareness of the condition."
The evening, however, was all about the community pharmacists. The dedication and passion they have for the health of the people in their local communities was perhaps personified by nobody more than Kishorbhai Laxman, the owner of Colnbrook Pharmacy. Despite suffering from cancer for the last three years and undergoing treatment, Kishorbhai works four-and-a-half days a week looking after his patients, as well as organising events and activities in his community and raising money for charity. Clasping the Pharmacy Business Community Award in his hands as he prepared to be interviewed, he was calm and collected. "It's great to be here tonight, I'm really enjoying it," he said with complete humility. Other inspiring stories emerged on the night.
The Pharmacy Business of the Year Award went to Abbey Pharmacy in Rotherham, whose owners Andrew and Sally Porter battled back against the odds following a serious fire at the pharmacy in 2011. Having endured an eight-month struggle to get their business reopened, they took the bold step to invest in an exclusive refurbishment, resulting in a stunning, modern pharmacy offering what one awards judge described as "exemplary community healthcare," underpinned by clinical excellence and state-of-the-art technology. "I'd say to anyone out there who is facing difficult times or bad times to never give up. You've just got to keep going and only by doing that will you get to where you want to be," Andrew said, standing next to his wife and proudly clutching the winning trophy. There were other winners too. The Health and Beauty Retailer of the Year went to Campbell's Chemist in Chiswick, Team of the Year were Day Lewis Pharmacy in Bognor Regis, Entrepreneur of the Year went to Knights Pharmacy in Pinchbeck, the Patient Services Award went to Neyland Pharmacy in Milford Haven, the Pre-Reg Pharmacist of the Year was Nitika Kapur and the Training Award was awarded to Day Lewis, who enjoyed a particularly successful evening.
Natural Healthcare Pharmacy of the Year was Buxton & Grant Chemist in Bristol, Prescriber of the Year was Tim Mills of Day Lewis, the Innovation Award went to West Elloe Pharmacy in Lincolnshire, Rita Hodkin of Vantage Pharmacy in Sheffield was named Pharmacy Assistant of the Year, Pharmacy Chain of the Year was Whitworths Pharmacy Group and the Enterprise Award went to Village Pharmacy in Kent. The contributions of pharmaceutical companies were also acknowledged. OTC Brand of the Year was Voltarol from Novartis, the Innovation in Generics Award went to Actavis, the Branded Manufacturer of the Year was GSK while the Generic Manufacturer of the Year Award went to Teva UK. The Pharmacy Business Leader of the Year Award was handed to Kirit Patel, chief executive of Day Lewis, while Ash Soni picked up the Pharmacy Business Editor's Award.
Pharmacy Business Awards
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