Why community pharmacists are important
Alpha Chemist has been at the heart of the community in Northolt, west London, for 30 years.
Pharmacist Usha Shah puts patient care at the heart of Alpha’s commitment to the community, working in partnership with local GPs. “Pharmacists are closely involved with the community and get to know our customers well,” said Usha. “We take time to learn about their conditions and health needs, and help them to make sure they are using the correct medication.”
Medication reviews are a critical part of this commitment. “Medication reviews make it possible for us to spend time with them to discuss their care and then share our findings with GPs to plan the best way forward.”
Usha said that she, like other community pharmacists, is concerned about proposed changes to the way medication reviews are organised and funded, and hopes that future arrangements will be clarified soon. “Community pharmacists can have an even bigger role in patient care, and share more of the workload with GPs. But we need to be sure we will have the resources.”
Andrew Gill, 69, lives with COPD and diabetes. He was a London bus driver for 26 years and a heavy smoker for most of his life. He took early retirement because of ill-health and previously struggled to manage his condition. But the support of his local community pharmacist near his home in Northolt, west London, has made a profound difference to his quality of life. “I used to smoke 80 cigarettes a day,” said Andrew.
“Once I decided to quit my pharmacist gave me the help I needed and I was able to stop within 10 days. I haven’t smoked since.” Andrew’s pharmacy carries out his medication reviews to make sure that he is taking the right medication to manage his COPD and diabetes, and also provides his flu vaccinations every year. “The pharmacist has got to know me well over the years and helps me to stay well so I can get on with my life.”