Olutayo Arikawe, a pharmacist manager from Dudley in the West Midlands, has been named as the winner of the I Love My Pharmacist Award 2016.
The award was presented to Arikawe following a final judging panel day at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in London, during which each of the six regional finalists were given the opportunity to highlight their work and healthcare initiatives in a ten-minute presentation.
Working in one of the most deprived communities in Dudley, Arikawe spoke about the variety of interventions she is involved in to help the local people improve their health. From organising annual health funfairs for the community and supporting alcohol dependent patients, to developing campaigns to raise awareness of skin cancer.
Arikawe’s pharmacy has won a number of community pharmacy awards and has been described as a “flagship healthy living pharmacy”. In addition to this, Arikawe is also a visiting public health lecturer and career advisor at the University of Wolverhampton, an Alphega ambassador and RPS advocate. Her future plans for the pharmacy include establishing a ‘grow your own vegetables’ scheme to encourage people to get out and about in the garden.
“I am really honoured and happy to be the winner of ‘I Love My Pharmacist award 2016’,” says Arikawe. “I really believe that if you take care of the community they will in turn take care of you, patient care is the core of everything that we do at the Priory Community Pharmacy.”
“[Arikawe’s] commitment to patient care is second to none,” says RPS president, Martin Astbury. “She converted the pharmacy’s boardroom into an exercise room for patients and has also created a ‘safe space’ where people who have worries can come and speak to her and discuss their problems.”
Part of the facilities in the Priory Community Pharmacy include a pole dancing pole for exercise.
This year the panel consisted of Astbury, Neal Patel, the head of corporate communications at the RPS, Tony Scully, the managing editor of The Pharmaceutical Journal, Ruthe Isden from the charity Age UK, Natalie Healey, a senior editor from NetDoctor and Emily Rose, the 2015 winner of I Love My Pharmacist.
Each presentation was judged against six criteria: expertise; initiative; patient care clearly explained; shared findings with the wider team; patient outcomes clearly demonstrated; and measure of impact.
“I Love My Pharmacist has been incredibly successful this year,” says Astbury. “The vast number of entries and votes from all over the UK demonstrates how valued pharmacists are within the community.”
“It was interesting to see a wide variety of applications demonstrating the many different roles pharmacists play across the NHS, making a huge difference to patients’ lives,” he adds.
There were 67 entries to the competition this year, which were cut down to 23 regional finalists by the panel, after which the 6 regional winners were chosen by the public over six weeks of voting.