A pharmacist at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), has been recognised for her work supporting refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Katie Earle-Payne was presented with the Global Citizenship prize at the health board’s Celebrating Success Staff Awards ceremony, which was held on 4 May 2023 and hosted by Jason Leitch, national clinical director for Scotland.
Earle-Payne works as a prescribing pharmacist on the cruise ship MV Ambition, which was chartered by the Scottish government to temporarily house up to 1,750 Ukrainian refugees. As well as supporting patients day to day, Earle-Payne used her language skills to create two guidance and information packs on how to navigate the health service in Scotland — one in English and another in Ukrainian — which were made available to the Ukrainian community in Glasgow.
The success of the guides has led to both NHS Lothian and the Scottish government looking to adapt and use them for Ukrainian refugees, with a spokesperson for the Scottish government saying that the materials have been used on a second ship housing displaced people in Edinburgh.
Earle-Payne also developed pathways for GP support for refugees, and supported refugees who had been prescribed medicines in Ukraine that were not available in the UK, helping to identify alternative medicines.
Gail Caldwell, director of pharmacy at NHSGGC, said Earle-Payne’s efforts to develop a service for Ukrainian patients have been “remarkable”.
“By helping Ukrainian patients navigate and understand the NHS, Katie has made a significant impact in improving their overall health and wellbeing, while setting an inspiring example for her fellow pharmacy professionals.”
Shirley-Anne Somerville, social justice secretary for Scotland, said: “I would like to warmly congratulate Katie on her well-deserved award. I very much appreciate her work, and the work of partners like NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, to support Ukrainian residents on board the MS Ambition in Glasgow access pharmacy services.”
Speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal, Earle-Payne said: “I’ve learned a lot about how many issues language barrier create, and the challenges of accessing a different health system and a foreign language.
“Although it was a really daunting experience to volunteer myself for this role, it was the right thing to do and a very rewarding experience, with the support of the multidisciplinary team and the wider pharmacy community.
“I’m really proud to be part of the welcoming Scottish community, and to be able to help these people during such a vulnerable time.”