The five finalists for the Pharmacist of the Year at the General Practice Awards 2018 have been announced ahead of the awards on 30 November.

The Pharmacist shares why these finalists made the shortlist and how the pharmacists went above and beyond their daily duties.


Olutayo Arikawe – The Priory Community Pharmacy

Superintendent pharmacist Olutayo Arikawe heads up The Priory Community Pharmacy, which was created as a not-for-profit social enterprise to serve one of the most deprived areas in Dudley.

The community has described the pharmacy as an ‘asset’, saying ‘there would be riots’ if it were to close.

Ms Arikawe describes her role as taking the busines ‘from a community pharmacy to a pharmacy in the community’, which involves holding a bi-monthly stakeholders meeting with the community association, local vicar, councillors, public health representatives and pharmacy users to shape the services delivered by the pharmacy.

These services currently include eye health, breathe easy and migraine clinics. The pharmacy has also raised money for various charities, including Save the Children, Poppy Appeal and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Ms Arikawe is also researching a PhD in pharmacy and mental health at Wolverhampton University, where she is a visiting lecturer.


Crispin Patrick Roland Bliss – Basegreen Pharmacy

Crispin Bliss has been called an ‘exemplary pharmacist and clinician’ by his managing director, who says the superintendent pharmacist’s first concern is always his patients.

His work on creating an integrated care model between pharmacy and general practice in Sheffield has been heralded as ‘pivotal’. A recent interaction with a patient involved the possible early detection of liver cancer.

With his clinical abilities ‘second to none’, Mr Bliss also actively uses his prescribing rights against a practice prescribing budget, but in a community pharmacy setting.

One of the GPs involved in the practice said it would not have been able to achieve what it had for the community without Mr Bliss and the support of the pharmacy team.

The work Basegreen Pharmacy has done has also formed the basis for a prime minister’s challenge fund (PMCF) pilot across the whole of Sheffield.


Nitin Lakhani – The Wellspring Surgery/Jaysons Pharmacy

As a clinical pharmacist at The Wellspring Surgery and Jaysons Pharmacy, Nitin Lakhani reviews medications with patients, which has improved their understanding of medication and in some cases has led to changes in prescriptions.

Over 50% of cases reviewed have resulted in changes and 10% of patients were de-prescribed from their medicines.

This initiative has improved the quality of care given to patients and has reduced GP workload, according to Mr Lakhani’s manager, who called his contribution to the practice ‘invaluable’.

Patients have described Mr Lakhani as ‘fantastic’ and called his care ‘thorough’. He provides patients with tailored action plans to improve their heath in both the short and long term, which have been labelled ‘excellent’.


Ali Gul Ozbek – Med-Chem pharmacy

Not only has this superintendent pharmacist run a 100 hour community pharmacy for over 12 years, but Ali Gul Ozbek was also elected Mayor of Haringey Council in 2016, extending his role in the community above and beyond.

His pharmacy offers various consultations, including appointments with a private doctor, chiropractor, and psychologist. Med-Chem also delivers many clinical services, some of which are free of charge, including smoking cessation services, minor ailments, blood glucose and pressure monitoring, travel advice and vaccines and erectile dysfunction PGD.

Mr Ozbek also created the Turkish-Kurdish healthcare professionals group ITSEB in order to address healthcare needs of the Turkish-Kurdish community, who he says have often felt ‘misunderstood, mistreated or lost’ in the NHS.


Ade Williams – Bedminster Pharmacy

This Bristol-based lead pharmacist has previously been commended in the industry for his achievements in the community, which include leading various campaigns, delivering 80% of interventions in a pilot pregnancy advisory service targeting at-risk patients, and consistently seeing 4-8% weight loss in a weight management service.

He has led Bedminster Pharmacy to a place where they are known locally and ‘increasingly nationally’ for going the extra mile for patients. Mr Williams is a ‘passionate’ individual who loves to think outside the box, according to his colleagues.

He has pioneered new ways of delivering care to his patients, including a blood pressure screening initiative called ‘pulse in the pub’ and various campaigns including #staywellthiswinter, #timetotalk which hoped to create space to talk about mental health within the practice, and an annual men’s mental health campaign called Bemmy Challenge.

The shadow Health Secretary said Mr Williams’ work was an example of why funding cuts should be opposed, as it would stop the innovation seen in pharmacies such as Bedminster.

Other figures that have praised Mr Williams’ work include the Lord Mayor of Bristol, the leader of the opposition and former director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, who described him as ‘inspirational’.


If you would like to join our finalists at the General Practice Awards ceremony on 30th November please contact [email protected] to purchase tickets.