Jay Patel, a director at Day Lewis, outlined a bold vision for community pharmacy during the company’s annual conference on Saturday, an event which saw a moving tribute to his father Kirit Patel, the co-founder of the pharmacy chain who passed away earlier this year._x000D_

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The 1,000 or so guests at the conference at Battersea Evolution were given a taste of the future as Jay Patel, who is fast emerging as the face of Day Lewis, revealed his “clear picture of the future of community pharmacy” was a health system where pharmacists prescribe, manage long-term conditions and make use of technology to increase their scope.

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“Today, we stand here to mark the start of our own journey as we lead you compassionately into the future. I have a clear picture of the future of community pharmacy,” Patel (second from the right) said.

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“We will be treated at medicines experts. We will be integrated into the care model. We will be prescribing. We will be managing long term conditions and with the aid of technology, we will be delivering care that is not limited by physical boundaries.

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“There is a lot of talk about whether community pharmacy can survive. I believe we should be focusing on opportunities to thrive.”

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Patel is charting a familiar course to Kirit Patel having recently been elected as the multiple chemist representative on the PSNC committee, a position once filled by his father. And like his father, he again showed is not afraid to voice an opinion on community pharmacy’s behalf.

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The conference also heard from JC Patel, who co-founded Day Lewis in 1975 and who paid tribute to his brother Kirit who died at the age of 67 in July.

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“As you all know, Kirit’s dreams were as big as his personality and presence. His wish was for 400 pharmacies. We will fulfil this wish and we will stay strong as we move forward to take the next step of the Day Lewis journey,” JC Patel said.

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“To fulfil his legacy and create an international healthcare company that touches the lives of many millions of people.”

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Kirit’s other children, Rupa and Sam, who are also Day Lewis directors, gave speeches. Rupa, who touched on the theme of compassionate leadership, said: “This is something we all can be part of. To lead compassionately ran through dad’s veins, through our family and hence our business.”

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Recounting a story about Georgia, an 18-year-old counter assistant from Yeovil who produced what Rupa described as “compassionate leadership,” she added: “An 18-year-old girl who took it on her own back to go above and beyond to help (an) elderly couple and then have the courage to ask me if I would help her.

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“Her empathy to ask about my family. This is what compassionate leadership means to me – it is not about titles, position or qualifications.

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“Jay, Sam and I have a vision that we will be one of the best places to work in the UK and why not. We have the most talented people who are engaged and motivated to succeed. And I am certain that we have many Georgias across all our pharmacies.”

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Sam Patel said: “I ask that our colleagues take a moment to recognise the importance of our partners in the room, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. It is the combination of their innovation and your patient care that means we can provide first-rate pharmacy service.

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“Some of you have supported Kirit and JC for so long that you have become close friends of the family. I can assure you that over the course of the next 40 years, Jay, Rupa and I look forward to developing those same bonds that will make this journey so memorable. So if you feel you’re not already on the bus, please get on board. Our door is always open.”

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Emotional speeches were followed by an awards ceremony which recognised the work of Day Lewis staff across the country and there was a performance from former X Factor finalist Andrea Faustini.

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And to conclude proceedings, there was an award for the Patel family – the Kirit Patel Award for Outstanding Leadership. It was quite a way to end an emotionally-charged evening.


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