Pharmacy 777 Nollamara, a week ago crowned 2016 Guild Pharmacy of the Year, is planning a street party for its local community to celebrate the win.
“For the Nollamara area as a whole, being a low socio-economic area, I think this is a really good thing for the community,” says proprietor Swarup Afsar.
“We’re looking at spending our winnings on a street party for the local community and the people of Nollamara, on April 30.
“We’ve got all the local businesses involved and we’re planning face painting for the kids, organising a massive barbecue for the locals… we were inspired by the street party concept [at the APP2016 conference], it was great.”
Afsar told AJP that as the dust settles following the win, the community has been celebrating with its pharmacy.
“The local businesses made us a big banner to put up, and the local carpet shop gave us a red carpet for two weeks, so we have a red carpet entrance at the moment! Our customers are all popping in too—we’re all very close to each other so we’re all absolutely loving it.”
The pharmacy took out the Professional Innovation category of the 2016 awards, and according to Bill Scott, one of the judges, developed and maintained very close interactions with the community. It was through these that they saw that the area was “generally under-serviced in the provision of mental health services,” Scott said.
“They have worked with the doctors and the mental health services in the area for years. They saw the need for additional psychological counselling in the area. They very successfully employed a psychologist on staff.
“Everybody is greeted by a pharmacist usually be their name. The pharmacy has a rule everybody is a patient not a customer but for me everybody seems like a friend.”
Afsar says 777 Nollamara now plans to advertise these services more outside the Nollamara area, “to spread our wings a bit.
“But we still consider ourselves at the beginning of this journey in mental health. There’s so much you can do. This is just the beginning – we’ve been working for 12 months and still finding new ideas.”
He says that challenges around price disclosure have shaken the pharmacy industry up, stimulating innovation around professional services.
“I think price cuts have made us all think outside the box a bit. Pharmacy as a whole, I would say, has stepped up. That’s a big accolade for our industry as a whole because it’s a very dynamic industry, and as a whole it’s stepping up with pharmacy becoming a health centre.”
He encouraged other pharmacies to “build a team that can deliver your vision. Winning or winning is just a side-effect, but if you do the right thing in a consistent manner, you’ll go a long way.”
Afsar also paid tribute to the other finalists at this year’s awards, saying that they were “really worthy, and really any of us could have taken it out.”
In the meantime, “I’m still recovering,” Afsar says. “I’ve got a very, very enthusiastic team to say the least. We were obviously really excited and we definitely know how to have a good time.”