Olutayo M Arikawe, The Priory Pharmacy: a view from the frontline
Community pharmacy is easily accessible and we are in the best place to reduce public health inequality in our community. I believe that we can make a positive difference in the lives of people using our pharmacies by being proactive rather than reactive.
Before I joined the pharmacy, it was attracting low patronage. I decided to make the pharmacy ‘a pharmacy in the community’ as opposed to just being a community pharmacy. This meant taking pharmacy services to people rather than waiting for them to come into the pharmacy. We provided services in churches, colleges, work places, community groups (Widows club, Salvation army, Black and minority ethnic group communities), supermarkets, pubs, gyms to mention a few. This created awareness about the pharmacy and services that are available from the pharmacy.
The staff are very passionate about the community and will go the extra mile to support people. Challenges included finding time for in store training and external trainings. This resulted in more confident team members. Another challenge was finding suitable venues and organising staff time tables to accommodate the events at the same time ensuring that we have enough staff to work in the pharmacy. We believe that the services promoted outside should be readily available instore with top notch care.
John is 46 years old, he started smoking when he was 13 years old having 10-15 cigarettes a day. As a resident on the local estate and a patient at The Priory Community Pharmacy, John regularly talked to the pharmacy Health Champion about his ailments and she mentioned that the pharmacy ran a stop smoking service. One Saturday morning in November 2014 John woke up with chest pains and walked into the pharmacy declaring he was ready to give up smoking. At this point he was smoking 60 cigarettes a day.
John saw the pharmacist and was given three different nicotine replacement products until he found one that suited him. He stated that 22nd November, 2014 was his quit date and has not smoked a single cigarette since that day. John says that he could not have stopped his smoking habit without the support of the staff at Priory Community Pharmacy, “they are brilliant here, always have time for a chat and I love to come in and breathe through the machine to prove my carbon monoxide levels are still low. I haven’t touched a single cigarette since last November.”
Pharmacist Olutayo M Arikawe has supported many people to give up smoking, “Our pharmacy is in a very deprived neighbourhood and we see many individuals that smoke. Some are unaware of the long-term effects of smoking on them and their families, and other people see smoking as a costly habit. We provide non-judgemental advice and information about our services and if a person is ready to quit then we support and tailor our service for that particular person – we even provide money boxes to people so that they can save the money they would have otherwise spent on cigarettes. Smoking Cessation is an invaluable public health service.”