gEttIng SoCIAl

UCA has developed an easy-to-read guide to help pharmacies get started with social media.

Many businesses now use social media to promote their products and services, but pharmacies have been slow to get to grips with this type of marketing. Yet, those who do, find it a very simple way of communicating with their target audience – their own community.

UCA joined with Age nI to promote their no-one Should Have no-one (noSHno) campaign before Christmas. UCA engaged a number of pharmacies to take a photo with an older client and UCA then posted a message on their behalf on facebook and twitter.

Collectively, these pharmacies enjoyed 41k shares and likes,

making it a really successful campaign.

With the feedback we received from pharmacies when we talked about the campaign we realised how uncertain many of our members were about getting involved in social media promotion. But the campaign’s success demonstrates how well received pharmacy and their health message is with the public.

With this in mind, we have put together our guide: How Your Business Can Benefit from Social Media. If you have any questions about social media or would like any assistance in getting started, please contact Mairead Conlon, Representation Pharmacist on or via 9065 6576.


UCA launched its Working in a Successful team training in november and our first team told us about how they have benefitted from the training: ‘the trainer made our whole team feel very welcome and the event was run in such a way that all of the staff felt fully engaged and involved in each task. It was great to have a meeting outside of the business premises where normal communication barriers were dropped and everyone could have their say. We are now developing a strategic document for our independent stand-alone pharmacy! We can use this document to monitor progress and give ownership of the process to everyone in the pharmacy. oh, it was great craic too!’ (Cliff McElhinney, Urban Pharmacy, Belfast).

the whole team enjoyed the two evening sessions held at the UCA offices in november and february. ‘the team-building exercises were

fIVE MInUtES WItH... tim McClure, Pillbox Pharmacy, Irvinestown

Tell us a little about yourself... I currently live in fivemiletown with my parents. In terms of hobbies, I’m really into my music and play the flute and piano. Sport and exercise are also both very important to me and I enjoy playing badminton and going running. Although it’s more academic I really enjoy writing pharmacy-orientated articles.

When did you qualify? I qualified in 2012 and spent my pre-registration year at Pillbox Pharmacy. When I completed my pre-reg year in July 2013, I was fortunate to be offered a full-time position by the pharmacy owner and fellow pharmacist, neil McConnell, and have been here ever since.

Career path to date? I studied at Queen’s and, throughout my university years, I knew that I wanted to spend my pharmacy career in the community. I absolutely love everything about my work; from the customer relations to the links with the local ARC centre where I carry out medication reviews for their falls Prevention team. this type of community outreach work is, I feel, one of the most valuable ways in which community pharmacy can contribute to its local population.


In what sort of an environment is Pillbox Pharmacy located? Pillbox Pharmacy is located in a rural area in Co fermanagh, servicing around 2000 residents. there are two other pharmacies in the town and, between us, we serve the community and the three local nursing homes. As with other pharmacies throughout northern Ireland, we’re seeing more and more scrips from both community and nursing homes, mainly as a result of the ageing population. the pharmacy acts as the central hub for the community, and we are constantly trying to be there to assist the gP surgery, which is the only one in the area.

How do you think pharmacy has changed as a profession during the years that you've been practising? Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much progress in pharmacy in the last five years. Despite the introduction of the MURs, which has been very helpful, I feel that community pharmacy is at a crossroads. the increase in the number of scrips being dispensed means that there is less time for services. that was one of the reasons why I got involved in the Pharmacy Representation group so that I could get discussion going


about starting to progress discussions to take pharmacy forward! It’s frustrating and disheartening that we are so far behind our gB counterparts in terms of progress.

What's next for pharmacy? I think that the introduction of the practice-based pharmacists (PBPs) will have a very positive impact and I’m hopeful that community pharmacy can work in partnership with the PBPs to make pharmacy the key member of the primary care team. I would love to see us prosper like our gB counterparts in terms of services etc, but the lack of progress on the part of local pharmacy leaders means that we won’t have the time! funding is the key!




great fun. Making a tower out of straws and marshmallows was not what I had expected. the atmosphere was very relaxed and it was a very enjoyable two evenings!’ (tina) ‘It was great to find out that as a team we had all the skills needed! the building tasks were a great idea, they really broke the ice and got everyone involved.’ (Una owens)

UCA has developed a wide range of team training and business management courses – check out our portfolio on / Event Calendar or call 028 9065 6576 to find out more about our courses.

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