Viral Doshi, lead pharmacist for Hillingdon Public Health, has been named as Pharmacist of the Year in annual awards that honour excellence in primary care.

Mr Doshi, who worked in community pharmacy before moving to public health, was rewarded for improving access to services in his area in the General Practice Awards 2021, presented at the at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith on Friday 10 December.

The GP Awards – held annually by The Pharmacist’s parent company Cogora – shine a light on the remarkable work carried out by Britain’s primary care professionals every day.

Dr Jainam Tolia nominated Mr Doshi, saying he is a ‘passionate advocate for the role that GP practices and community pharmacies can play in support the health agenda’.

‘His foresight and innovation have led to numerous projects delivered by these setting, which have had a huge contribution to the positive health benefits of patients’.

Mr Doshi’s work was praised in letters of thanks from Boris Johnson and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, with the Prime Minister saying he was ‘inspirational’.

He has worked hard to tackle vaccine hesitancy in Hillingdon, which has a multi-ethnic population and high social deprivation; setting up a community vaccine hub where staff have administered Covid vaccines since December 2020.

Mr Doshi also implemented an evidence-based weight management scheme in his borough, training staff to deliver a 12-week behavioral support programme. The scheme focuses on educating the patient on nutrition, exercise and reducing total body weight by at least five percent. He was also instrumental in setting up an innovative screening programme to identify smokers with undiagnosed COPD.

Mr Doshi, a Royal Pharmaceutical Fellow, is also a national trainer and has forged many links between pharmacy and other healthcare professionals, such as GPs and respiratory consultants.

Mr Doshi said: ‘It’s been a privilege to be a finalist in the GP Awards. I’m a pharmacist specialising in public health, and I’ve been lucky to have worked in community pharmacy, and now as a pharmacist in a local authority developing different types of public health services. I’ve also done lots of clinician training nationally, traveling around the country - most notably on smoking cessation.

‘During the Covid pandemic, I was lucky to have the chance to set up in a community centre in Hayes, for us to vaccinate as many people as possible in the local community.’ he added.

Other award winners included:

· Covid Protect, Norfolk and Waveney, for GP Team of the Year

. Maggi Bradley, Aughton Surgery, for the Practice Nursing Award

· Newton Medical Centre, SSP Health, for Clinical Improvement, Chronic Conditions

· Ansh Pal Singh, Lynwood Medical Centre, for Clinical Improvement, Mental Health

· Dr Maggie Kirk and the HealthBus Team, for Clinical Improvement, Public Health & Prevention

Previous winners have included the Modality Partnership Hull Pharmacist Team, James Tibbs of AR Pharmacy in Southampton, and Bristol-based contractor Ade Williams.