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Meet the regional finalists of I Love My Pharmacist: Northern England

The public has until 21 July 2016 to vote for their favourite regional finalist of the 2016 I Love My Pharmacist Award. The pharmacist with the highest number of votes in each region will then meet with the judging panel who will decide the 2016 champion.

Northern England regional finalists of the

Northern England regional finalists of the I Love My Pharmacist Award. From left: Vishika Rabadia, Kantilal Agravat, Chris Roberts and Alistair Gray

Vishika Rabadia, Bolton: pharmacist at Breightmet Health Centre

Vishika Rabadia works as part of an integrated health and social care team including pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers. The team takes referrals from GPs whose patients are at high risk of ending up in hospital and works to reduce hospital admissions.

We demonstrate the expertise pharmacists have and, by working together with other skilled professionals, we strive for the best possible outcomes for the patient

One example of Rabadia’s work is when she helped a 73-year-old male who had become socially isolated and was referred to the team after being admitted several times to A&E with pneumonia. At first, the patient was reluctant to accept help and suffered from depression. Over time, however, following Rabadia’s recommendations of chest physiotherapy, health education and a befriender (someone who volunteers to support someone who has become isolated), the patient’s confidence grew and his well-being improved. The patient is now a volunteer befriender, supporting and helping other socially isolated people.

“I feel honoured to be selected for the I Love My Pharmacist Award. This allows me to showcase the great work being done by the team in Bolton. We demonstrate the expertise pharmacists have and, by working together with other skilled professionals, we strive for the best possible outcomes for the patient,” says Rabadia. 

Kantilal Agravat, Openshaw, Manchester: community pharmacist at Pharmaco Chemists

After qualifying as a pharmacist and practising as a locum for a year, Kantilal Agravat converted four terrace houses into one pharmacy, now known as Pharmaco Chemists; 35 years later Agravat and his team continue to provide a place of support for patients.

There is no better feeling than realising you have made an impact on someone’s life, whether it is a patient, colleague or student

Agravat has built strong relationships with local GPs and other healthcare professionals. He visits patients living alone, who are housebound or who live in sheltered homes, who find it more difficult to manage their health, and has been known to arrange patient’s travel to appointments as well as respond to emergency situations.

For the past six years, Pharmaco Chemists has been a training site for medical students from the University of Manchester, and Agravat has previously been recognised for the opportunities he has given to high school students through work experience placements.

“There is no better feeling than realising you have made an impact on someone’s life, whether it is a patient, colleague or student. This is what drives me to work every day and makes me not only a better pharmacist but a better person.”

Chris Roberts, Fleetwood: GP practice pharmacist at Broadway Medical centre

Chris Roberts was shortlisted for his contribution to supporting patients with chronic diseases. He conducts medication reviews and runs daily chronic disease management clinics in a GP surgery. He sees up to 20 patients a day with chronic disease; including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes and hypertension. Reviewing their medication and discussing their treatment is a fundamental part of his work as a pharmacist.

I am passionate about helping people within the community with chronic diseases

Roberts has also been involved in the introduction of a number of community initiatives to improve the accessibility of pharmacy and GP services. This includes local pharmacists seeing and treating patients with minor ailments, which has relieved pressure on local GP practices. Roberts is also leading work aimed at giving high street pharmacists access to GP-held patient records, enabling them to safely manage more complex conditions.

“I am passionate about helping people within the community with chronic diseases. My work sees me working closely with different skilled professionals within hospitals, GP surgeries and local communities to optimise patient medical treatment. I coordinate the care and treatment of patients with chronic disease to prevent them ending up in hospital.”

Alistair Gray, Blackburn: clinical services lead pharmacist at the Royal Blackburn Hospital

Alistair Gray was shortlisted for his contribution to improving transfer of care for patients from hospital to the community. Gray believes that patients in hospital should routinely be referred to their community pharmacist for post-discharge medicines support to ensure they are not re-admitted to hospital. However, manual referral systems were proving ineffective so Gray worked with software developers to come up with an electronic solution.

Refer-to-Pharmacy not only cuts down the chances of medication errors once the patient has left hospital but it also reduces medication waste

The Refer-to-Pharmacy system went live on 29 October 2015. Since then, there has been a reduction in the rate of hospital readmissions (from 4.0% to 2.5%) over the first four months of 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. Gray thinks this could be the start of a valuable referral solution and would like to see the system introduced across the UK.

“A patient can go through a lot whilst they are in hospital and they are expected to digest and understand a lot of information, which can be stressful. Refer-to-Pharmacy not only cuts down the chances of medication errors once the patient has left hospital but it also reduces medication waste.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201283

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  • Northern England regional finalists of the I Love My Pharmacist Award. From left: Vishika Rabadia, Kantilal Agravat, Chris Roberts and Alistair Gray

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