Meet the regional finalists of I Love My Pharmacist: London and Kent

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.

London and Kent regional finalists of the I Love My Pharmacist Award. From left: Zafar Khan, Peter Kelly, Esther Wong and Catherine McKenzie

Zafar Khan, Earl’s Court: community pharmacist at Zafash Pharmacy

A patient’s mission to get a prescription in the middle of the night inspired Zafar Khan to open his pharmacy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, allowing him to offer support through his pharmacy at all times.

I thoroughly enjoy my work and want to encourage more pharmacists to open around the clock

Currently, Khan is leading five national and international humanitarian and healthcare charities. Previous work in the pharmaceutical industry resulted in new processes to make the bitter taste of penicillin more palatable and a liquid form of penicillin for children. Through his pharmacy, Khan is able to support a variety of patients, from drug addicts trying to overcome their addiction to terminally ill patients. He often helps patients who otherwise would have had to go to A&E. In one such case he was able to prevent an infection by dressing a patient’s badly cut and swollen knee.

“I am truly passionate about pharmacy and providing high level healthcare services every day. Having a pharmacy open 24 hours a day helps take the pressure off A&E departments but, more importantly, supports the community whenever they need help. I thoroughly enjoy my work and want to encourage more pharmacists to open around the clock,” he says.

Peter Kelly, Clapham: community pharmacist at Kamsons Pharmacy

Peter Kelly has been shortlisted for his outstanding contribution to improving healthy living. After NHS health checks revealed that many of his patients were unclear on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle, Kelly started a collaboration with Shea Jozana, a qualified personal trainer and blogger, to promote a lifestyle programme titled ‘5 Simple Steps to Healthy Living’. The five steps are: sleep, exercise, diet, fun and relaxation.

I believe healthy living promotion is key to helping reduce the pressure on the NHS

Kelly and Jozana extended this concept into interactive healthy living workshops. Since January 2016, Kelly has volunteered his time to present these workshops to students at colleges throughout East London. Kelly’s long-term goal is to train other healthcare professionals on the programme so that it can be rolled out on a much larger scale to the general public.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be working in a profession which I feel so passionate about. Through my role as a pharmacist, I have gained in-depth knowledge on how to live a healthy life and, as a result, I feel a duty to raise awareness of this with the public. I believe healthy living promotion is key to helping reduce the pressure on the NHS and is vital to the NHS’s survival,” Kelly explains.

Esther Wong, Chelsea: pharmacist at Chelsea and Westminster hospital

Esther Wong is part of a multidisciplinary team that sees patients with an array of neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease. Some patients require additional help with their medication, be it repeat prescriptions or counselling on new therapies. This led Wong to realise the need to introduce a new referral pathway.

A pharmacist is more than just a dispenser of medicine

As part of the new pathway, patients are referred by the consultant to see both the specialist pharmacist and nurse. Wong closely monitors patients’ medication, makes necessary changes and ensures the medicines are being taken correctly.

This pathway has run for the past two years and Wong believes it has made a difference to her patients. By seeing patients more regularly medicines optimisation is enhanced and having a pharmacist involved in prescribed treatment for long-term conditions encourages compliance.

“I am passionate about enhancing patient care and experience for neurology patients. A pharmacist is more than just a dispenser of medicine. I want to continue to raise the profile of pharmacists to the public, so they are aware of how we can be of benefit to them and the community,” she says.

Catherine McKenzie, Westminster: consultant pharmacist in critical care at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Working closely with medical consultants, Catherine McKenzie devises patient treatment plans and prescribes medication for critically ill patients in the intensive care unit. Many of the patients McKenzie reviews suffer from pain and agitation, and are very confused. Consequently, they rely on her to explain drug information to them and their families.

My team is extremely supportive and determined and we put the patient at the heart of everything we do

Eighteen months ago McKenzie was invited to lead a pain, agitation and delirium service. A large part of her role involves counselling patients, reassuring them that their hallucinations are false and they are safe. In addition, she and the team ensure the patients are on the most appropriate therapy, which can include sedatives, opioid analgesics and antipsychotics.

McKenzie is also a senior lecturer at King’s College London, where she teaches prescribing and clinical skills, and supervises clinical research with students working in critical care.

“I am passionate about critical care. My team is extremely supportive and determined and we put the patient at the heart of everything we do. One of the highlights at work was when I bumped into an ex-patient with her family in the corridor and they all personally thanked me for helping them in intensive care,” she says.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, June 2016;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201284