Pharmacy students, pre-registration trainees and newly qualified pharmacists will battle it out in this year’s Future of Pharmacy Student Award which has been launched by Alliance Healthcare.

The winner of the competition, in its eighth year, will receive a cheque for £500, with entrants required to write an essay highlighting how community pharmacy can use technology to over-come the challenges facing the profession.

Alliance Healthcare non-executive adviser Mike Smith and Chris Martin, another member of the company’s team, will judge the entries. Deadline for submissions is June 15 and the winner will be announced on July 11.

Before officially launching the award, Smith spoke to students at Keele University during the British Pharmaceutical Student Association’s (BPSA) annual conference about his 50-year career in community pharmacy and how the profession has changed.

“Understanding the needs of our customers is not a new concept but now we really must listen and use whatever support and resources are available to us as we strive to deliver the best service to our local communities as possible, ensuring patient safety,” he told them.

The Alliance Healthcare award is run in association with the BPSA. Smith is pictured with BPSA president Stephen Messham.