Every member of the team at Reid’s Pharmacy in London is empowered to play an important role, insists Terry Reid. Neil Trainis talks to the Pharmacy Business Awards winner…
“Gosh, I would say a group of people all working together to achieve the same aims. Individuals working in different parts of the business. It’s difficult to talk about it. I can tell you what makes my team great,” Terry Reid says trying to sum up what makes an excellent pharmacy collective.
Those who have walked through the doors of Reid’s Pharmacy in search of medicine, friendly health advice or just a chat have taken to NHS Choices to explain why Terry and his team have been so important to the local community of Edmonton in London. Many have paid tribute to the team’s professionalism, friendliness and attentiveness.
“Have been here a few times and every time is very pleasant. The pharmacist and all of his team make the experience smooth and funny. Very comforting team that clearly know a lot about all things pharmacy. Couldn’t recommend enough,” one review read.
Another read: “I have used Reid’s Pharmacy for many years. The owner and his team are the most pleasant people you could meet. Everyone of them will go out of their way to ensure your every need is met. Nothing is too much trouble from a simple cream to chasing a prescription with your own doctor for you. As I’m of the older generation this is wonderful for me and stress-free. Also they will brighten your day with just a smile or a wave if just passing.”
Another read: “We have used Reid’s Pharmacy since moving into the area 20 years ago and can truly say that the pharmacist and their friendly team are first class in every way. We always receive an exceptionally professional service and nothing ever seems to be too much trouble for the pharmacist and the team. This pharmacy is a true community asset and should be held up as a role model of how it should be done.”
When you talk to Terry, whose pharmacy won the Pharmacy Business Team of the Year accolade last year, you get the sense that he is passionate about his patients. But there is more to it. He values his staff too. He makes every member of his team, which is 10-strong including Terry, feel valued. He makes them all feel like leaders in their own right.
“For us, we’re fortunate to have the recognition for what we do. For many, many years we didn’t have the recognition. We’ve worked hard to do things for our customers and we’ve kept our standards high,” he says, calmly assertive and very pleasant.
“We have a particular ethos that we’ll always be the best we can be. When people come to a business, coming from one pharmacy to the next, they can come in with closed minds. Our ethos is about improving and developing. I’m sure we don’t get there all the time but we want to push ourselves all the time.”
Reid’s Pharmacy won the Investors in People gold standard on two occasions – in 2013 and 2017 – and it is easy to see why. Terry is renowned for developing people who work for him.
“We have a whiteboard which we use to talk about what our passion is, what we do, when someone new joins Reid’s Pharmacy. It tells a story of what we’re trying to achieve; a high level of services and good advice in a caring environment,” he says.
“We have a range of qualities we require for people to work in the pharmacy; someone who can adapt and adhere to our systems, someone who has emotional intelligence, someone who wants to develop.
“There are 10 members of staff including myself. Only two are full-time, the rest are part-time. We have one lady, a dispensing assistant, who has been with us for over 20 years. She’s a powerhouse in the business. We have three students who work on Saturdays. They run the show on Saturdays. And I recently took on another four individuals.
“I took on four who all have excellent qualities and can perform other functions in the pharmacy rather than, say, just a dispensing assistant. We have plans to move the business forward with retail and marketing experience. Developing capabilities is important but we need people who are going to be team members who know about certain parts of the role.
“We have people who know a lot about marketing which is important for the skincare side of the business for example as well as travel health. Our business plan is on that board and we have staff meetings practically every morning. We meet to discuss targets, what we’ve achieved, where we’re going. That involvement from everybody is key to having a good team.”
Some community pharmacists may be reluctant to let their staff run parts of their business for them even if it will free them up to focus on what sets the great pharmacies apart; face-to-face clinical care. Not Terry. He is only too happy to empower others to take on the reins where it is needed and where it will improve patient health.
“I have someone who focuses on the marketing side of things. They had experience managing a retail store. But everyone knows their roles,” he suggests.
“Even the phone has a standard operating procedure. It has to be answered in a certain way, calls must be handled in a certain way. For travel health queries, we need to glean particular information. But we can interchange everybody if we need to.”
Terry’s attitude to pharmacy technicians illustrates his devotion to people empowerment. He recently appointed a new technician and insists he has no qualms getting her to oversee the supply of medicines at Reid’s Pharmacy once she is ready to do so.
“She has no qualifications but we’ll train her up,” he says. “Yes, definitely (technicians generally should be overseeing the supply of medicines.) She will be overseeing the supply of medicines here at Reid’s Pharmacy. It’s crucial that we are much more clinical.
“She will free me up from the dispensary. As long as the training is correct and the pharmacist is involved at some stage, I have no problem with that.”
It seems impossible to talk to a community pharmacist without mentioning the government’s funding cuts and Terry concedes that the measures have impacted his pharmacy. His decision to take four people on this year despite the reduction in community pharmacy’s budget was brave even though he does not see it like that. It just made good business sense.
“Of course (the cuts have affected Reid’s Pharmacy). It’s affected our cashflow, our bottom line. I’ve taken on four people this year. We need to develop a new system around services and ensure what we have doesn’t disappear to online and remote pharmacies.
“The cuts have hit hard. But the way we’ve tried to get past this is by investing, developing people and doing things a lot differently, although I wouldn’t advise people to go and get staff in. That would be foolhardy. It’s about what you feel is the best direction to go in.”
Terry enthusiastically recounts the services on offer at his pharmacy. “We do enhanced services, emergency hormonal contraception, travel clinic, a range of PDGs, vaccines, erectile dysfunction, probably a few more than that that haven’t jumped to mind. We also work with local health authorities.”
And he is not shy to approach other community pharmacies and share best practice.
“We go to conferences and pick up things You can always glean information. If someone learnt something new they are encouraged to share it at Reid’s Pharmacy. We involve the team as much as we can at every level. Every team member is a leader.
“We learn new things from other people, other pharmacies. I spent this morning visiting pharmacies, sharing information, seeing what they are doing. We can be so insular but there’s a lot of tremendous work going on out there.”