Crowned Pharmacist of the Year at the General Practice Award 2018 on 30 November, contractor Ade Williams of Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol talks to Léa Legraien about receiving the accolade. 


Q How do you feel about winning Pharmacist of the Year?


A It was very unexpected because my colleagues there were exceptional and humble. When you look at what we’re doing as a profession, it’s really inspiring and we can’t say that we’re lacking ambition or ability.

This award showcases pharmacy alongside other healthcare professions in primary care. It’s nice to see and share what colleagues, including nurses and GPs, do.

It also sends a message that shows the great work pharmacists are doing and how we can support them to do things more locally as well.


Q Why do you think the judges chose you as the winner?


A I wish I knew why! It’s a beauty for me and it’s very humbling.

I hope that they saw in me something that’s easy to replicate. When you win an award, you don’t want to think you’re exceptional – you want to think that you’ll become an example for other people and template of what’s possible. I hope that’s why I was chosen.


Q Why does your pharmacy differ from others?


A We’re delivering holistic interventions not just in health but also increasingly across social care.

I’m really championing some of the topical issues around prevention, providing examples of how this can be done in any pharmacy through what we’re doing in our pharmacy.

I’m very fortunate because I work as part of a really great team of people and what’s different about our team is that when we come across a situation other people might find challenging, we don’t walk away from it.

We take responsibility for our community and I think that helps us because we’ll spend time thinking, “what difference can we make and how can we make it?”.


Q What are you most proud of in your pharmacy?


A The team and the culture within it. We have a culture of caring for people and going the extra mile. Everybody is able to see themselves as part of the solution, which helps us innovate a lot. Everybody has a voice that should be listened to.


Q Why is it important that pharmacists put themselves forward for next year’s awards?


A Many pharmacists work in very small teams, in isolation. We’re doing brilliant things and sometimes we want to do more but we don’t know how to or whether they are possible.

So not only do those sort of awards celebrate excellence but also help create ambition. When people hear about what somebody is doing and how they’re doing it, they can then go back [to their pharmacy] and do something similar to meet their own needs.


Q What qualities would you like to see in the next Pharmacist of the Year winner?


A Following Graham Stretch – [named Pharmacist of the Year 2017] – who is a pioneering pharmacist, I guess it would be to continue to see [more such people].

It would be nice to see more groundbreaking, innovative ways of working because it tells a lot about the profession.

It’s our responsibility to inspire colleagues and the next generation of pharmacists and encourage them to enter awards because that’s what moves us forward.

I think that’s got to be the message, people reading the shortlist and thinking “there’s some excellent work happening in pharmacy, why can’t we get these everywhere?”.


Q What’s in your pipeline for 2019?


A 2018 has been a year with lots of challenges. There are two bits that are the most important for me for 2019. The first one is patients and how we continue to help them deal with all the challenges they’re facing with, whether it’s with their mental or physical health or social issues.

The second one is my team. Some members of my team are EU nationals and in the midst of everything that’s going on, they’re my top priority – seeing that they’re well and knowing that I am on their side.