We speak to the Pharmacist/Pharmacy Team of the Year Award shortlist, ahead of this year’s General Practice Awards that will be held on 8 December in London.

The fifth entry under the spotlight from this year’s shortlist of six is the Spring Hill Practice pharmacy team, based in north London.

This pharmacy team's collaborative approach to their work includes supporting other healthcare staff members. Drug information and expertise is provided to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to facilitate informed decision-making regarding medication therapy.

The team’s work in medication management and reconciliation has helped to enhance patient safety, with medication profile reviews identifying potential drug interactions or duplications, and lines of communication established to resolve any issues with other healthcare providers.

Through medication counselling, the team helps patients to understand proper usage for their treatments as well as potential side effects and interactions. Long-term condition reviews also help to ensure patients are monitored and followed up correctly.

The team runs a polyclinic where patients on multiple registers can be reviewed, precluding the need for them to come back numerous times. This saves the patient time and effort but also offers the chance to look at them holistically with comprehensive checks to help ensure the treatment regimen is optimal.

An onus on education aims to empower patients and service users to make informed decisions about their health and actively manage their health conditions. The team’s commitment to continuous learning also benefits staff members by providing opportunities for professional development.

The senior pharmacist works closely with the prescribing GP lead at the practice to make sure that the prescribing targets are met, while also offering support to junior pharmacists at the practice and at PCN level.

One of the ways the pharmacy team has made a positive impact in the community is the reduction of cardiovascular risk through blood pressure control.

Efforts began with the setting up of regular long-term condition group meetings, with the tracking of weekly progress. The team also undertook patient counselling on lifestyle changes and medication optimisation, and a home reading model was set up, allowing patients to monitor their blood pressure using their own devices or equipment borrowed from the practice.

The efforts helped the practice to reach all of its Quality of Framework blood pressure targets. All indicators for diabetes-related targets were also met, helped by the pharmacy team’s counselling and care planning.

What they said

Following an appointment with Spring Hill clinical pharmacist David Abioye, a patient said: ‘I had my pressure taken and had a talk about diet and exercise, as well as the importance of taking medication regularly. He is a great listener and very factual.’

The patient added: ‘Good service was provided. I felt very much at ease.’

Meanwhile, one Google review reads: ‘I am profoundly grateful to Mr David Abioye for his outstanding professional medical excellence in the field of pharmacology… putting patient care on a level far beyond that which I have personally experienced in 66 years of life.’

Last year, West Midlands-based pharmacist Helen Kilminster won the Pharmacist of the Year Award after demonstrating she is an advocate for fair and equitable access to healthcare.

See here for more information about this year’s General Practice Awards and the gala dinner and ceremony, which will be held at the Novotel London West on Friday 8 December.