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Southcity Pharmacy Wagga Wagga: Pharmacy of the Year

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Southcity Pharmacy Wagga Wagga has been named as the 2018 Pharmacy of the Year at the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference 2018

The pharmacy is also the winner of the Excellence in Community Engagement award.

Co-proprietor Luke van der Rijt told the APP conference that he and his co-owners had been inspired to seek excellence after a trip to a previous APP conference a few years ago.

”Four years ago we hadn’t owned a shop before,” he said after the team accepted the award from Health Minister Greg Hunt.

”We came up here and took inspiration from the other pharmacists and took that back to our pharmacy.”

He thanked those pharmacists, the South City team and local health professionals, with whom the pharmacy work closely.

”We’ve seen fantastic results can be achieved when you all work together.” 

He told the AJP earlier that it was a “fantastic feeling” to have been named a finalist.

Mr van der Rijt and his business partner Michael O’Reilly engage with the community in a number of ways. Both proprietors are Clinical Council members of the local Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (PHN).

“Working together with local healthcare providers, we focus on how local pharmacies can help solve local health problems and fill gaps in regional community healthcare services,” Mr van der Rijt says.

“Through our involvement with the Clinical Council, we are able to identify priorities in the region and mould our services around these to support the community.”

One of these services includes a successful and extensive COPD screening program.

“COPD is one of the largest preventable hospital admissions in the region, so in conjunction with the Novartis respiratory department we developed a program in our pharmacy to address this, which has been a huge success,” he says, adding that the program has seen a very high referral rate of 50% for patients.

Southcity Pharmacy also offers Donjoy specialist medical braces to support those with both chronic pain and post-surgical pain, provides compounding services, and works closely with local specialists for treatment of sleep apnoea.

The pharmacy has 11 staff members trained in Mental Health First Aid, and a credentialed diabetes educator to run a diabetes service to the local area.

The pharmacy sponsors four local children to attend local charity Country Hope’s Time Out For Life week-long camp.

“This camp provides children diagnosed with cancer or life threatening illnesses the chance to attend a week-long camp to just be kids and take time out from the reality of their treatment,” Mr van der Rijt says.

Professional Innovation and Business Management

Taking out the Professional Innovation category was the Gerald Burns Pharmacy at Bicton in Western Australia.

This pharmacy, owned by Amanda Bryce, has set its sights on becoming Australia’s first dementia friendly pharmacy.

“Becoming a dementia-friendly pharmacy isn’t enough for us,” Ms Bryce earlier told the AJP. We’ve approached the owners of Hawaiian Shopping Centres to ask that they too embrace the opportunity to become dementia-friendly retail leaders, with our staff offering to upskill others. Two thirds of patients with a diagnosis of dementia live in the community and their favourite past-time is shopping, so it makes sense to embrace this.”

The Business Management award went to Friendlies Pharmacy in the rural town of Busselton, which adapted its model when it realised the impact large supermarket chains were having on its shopping centre, which is anchored by an IGA.

Co-proprietor of the pharmacy David Williams earlier told the AJP that the pharmacy set about remodelling the store layout to improve efficiencies, and divided the staff into teams for aged care, health services, dispensary pharmacists and front of shop staff.

“An important aspect of the makeover was that we became an HBF Pharmacy which means that members of the health fund are eligible for HBF services, subsidised services and discounts on some over-the-counter products,” Mr Williams said.

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