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Shining the spotlight on pharmacy


Pharmacy in Focus is proud to launch their Awards, aimed at spotlighting all that’s best about community pharmacy in Northern Ireland today.


Now in their ninth year, the Pharmacy in Focus Awards culminate in a gala event at one of the country’s top venues, the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on Saturday, January 30th, 2016.


Pharmacists, pharmacy teams, global leading pharmaceutical companies and leading suppliers will come together for an evening’s celebration of the extraordinary dedication and innovation demonstrated by community pharmacy across the sector.


Up for grabs this year are 11 Awards, each highlighting a key skill set. All but three of the awards will be judged by a team of experienced pharmacy leaders, keen to reward true excellence.


The two customer-service awards will be decided via mystery shopper’s detailed findings. Outstanding Contribution is a nomination only category.


Pharmacists, their teams and businesses of all sizes are facing the difficulties of an increasingly challenging health service and global economy.


These professionals are taking on various innovations and services to improve patient care whilst others are showing increasing dedication and commitment to the growth of the profession.


Perhaps you know someone worthy of recognition? There are pharmacy heroes all around us. But often they can be humble, acting on the behalf of others


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without favour, and so their stories remain untold.


The Pharmacy in Focus Awards are Northern Ireland’s most prestigious, playing a fundamental role as a vehicle to celebrate and acknowledge the remarkable contribution and achievements of pharmacy individuals and teams. They provide you with an opportunity to recognise deserving colleagues and/or peers.


If someone has inspired you through their dedication, innovation or leadership, show them how important their work is by nominating them for a Pharmacy in Focus Award.


Dr Ruth Miller


The Pharmacy in Focus Awards and President’s Ball will once again be raising money for a worthwhile charity and this year it will be Age NI. This charity delivers care services, provides advice and advocacy, fundraise and influence decision-makers to improve later life for us all. They tackle ageism where it is faced, fight for enough money for older people to live in dignity and demand the quality of care that people in later life deserve.


Dr Ruth Miller is Project Manager: Medicines Optimisation in Older People (WHSCT & NHSCT) and Lead Research Pharmacist with the Western Health Trust. Dr Miller has played on both teams, having been a Judge and been judged for numerous National Award processes.


Last year, along with colleagues from the Board Carmel Darcy, Consultant Pharmacist (Older People) and Anne Friel, Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management, the team scooped a prestigious National Royal


If you are not in you can’t win I have had the great fortune to have chosen a profession of whom I am immensely proud, but admittedly, sometimes frustrated.


We are a modest healthcare profession and my frustration arises when we just don’t shout loud from the rooftops about what we do for patients.


Certainly, in the present climate where everything we do must be cost- effective and also deliver optimal patient outcomes, the need to evaluate our work, and disseminate our learning and experience has become more acute.


Awards offer the opportunity to not just ‘take stock’ and think about all that has been achieved by a pharmacy team, whether that be in the community or hospital setting, but to gain recognition for those achievements.


Pharmaceutical Society Pharmaceutical Care Award for their project designed to improve the care provision for older people.


The team were shortlisted out of 31 UK wide entries and were hotly contested by six inspiring finalists. Here, she gives her overview on the benefits of an Awards process with invaluable advice for those thinking of entering.


Peer review and acknowledgement is a fulfilling experience for those individuals or teams involved; it can also lead to enhanced recognition from the other professions we work with as they learn about the substantial impact of pharmaceutical care.


In the community setting, this can lead to opportunities to provide further enhanced services, increases business revenue, enhances the community pharmacy profile and boosts staff morale.


In the hospital setting, the same is also true with successful and innovative patient services attracting more funding again resulting in an enhanced pharmacy profile and job satisfaction for all involved.


When it comes to awards, I have had the enormous pleasure of being both the judge and the ‘judged’ regionally and nationally. Both sides of the coin are incredibly rewarding and equally challenging.


I want to share with you the benefits of my experience in what I am looking for when judging and what you need to include in your awards submissions.


When preparing your application, assume the judges know nothing about you, your nominee or your work; therefore you need to guide them clearly and concisely through the application.


You may be entering a category which includes a team effort or you may be wishing to nominate someone you perceive as a worthy winner.


For individual awards, focus entirely on that person’s achievements within the pharmacy workplace and how these stand out.


Give plenty of detail and include any relevant supporting materials e.g. patient information leaflets and photos.


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