Checking out the best

Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker: "The restrictions are much tighter this time"

Award-winning pharmacist Lucy Walker is heading off on a round-the-world trip to investigate the best of the best pharmacy practice

Owner of the Terry White Chemmart Goondiwindi in rural Queensland – which was named 2017 Pharmacy of the Year by the Pharmacy Guild – has been recognised with a 2018 Churchill Fellowship.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has awarded $3.1 million worth of Churchill Fellowships to 112 Australians in 2018. These Fellowships address current challenges faced in Australia by recognising experts in various fields and funding them to travel internationally seeking insights and knowledge that will benefit Australia.

Ms Walker’s $27,000 Fellowship is to help her “bring innovative global pharmacy practices to my rural community and improve services nationally,” says the Churchill Trust.

Ms Walker told the AJP that she has planned her itinerary around a 2017 PSA document highlighting best pharmacy practice overseas, and from being inspired by international speakers at conferences including APP and Pharmacy Connect.

“I want to see some of the places where they do particular services better than we do,” she says.

“It’ll be a good chance to go and get some new ideas, and hopefully be able to implement them back here in Goondiwindi.

“For example, I’m quite interested in medication synchronisation that’s taking place in the US – and every Australian pharmacist wants to go to Canada! – and then I’m quite excited about the Minor Ailments Service being offered in Scotland.

“That will be particularly interesting – in Gundy we do a lot of minor ailments, and it would really help if it was a service that was subsidised, especially for our Aboriginal patients.

“People will come to us first, because they don’t want to block up the hospital unnecessarily, and you may have to wait up to two weeks to see your GP of choice in town – so they come here first to see if we can assist or refer them on appropriately.”

Scotland was identified as a leader by the PSA in minor ailments, and Ms Walker plans to visit a number of British locations and stakeholder organisations to research pharmacist integration with GPs; funded NHS services; palliative care; and the MAS in Scotland. She also plans to investigate immunisation in Ireland.

Canada was identified by PSA as a excelling in prescribing under protocol, and Ms Walker plans to investigate prescribing for smoking cessation and advances in prescribing for UTIs; the value of expanded pharmacy services in Canada; and the practice of pharmacists in Alberta in renewing and adapting prescriptions and prescribing.

She will also visit world leaders in Germany and New Zealand, and attend the International Pharmaceutical Federation Congress 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

“Every place there’s something worth looking at,” she says. “A lot of the people I’ve heard speak at conferences about something amazing, and it will be great to go see their pharmacies and what they do.

“For example Joe Moose, at Moose Pharmacy in North Carolina, spoke at APP last year – a lot of the places and people I want to see are those who have come to Australian conferences and I’ve met.”

CEO of the Churchill Trust, Adam Davey, said the recipients are “ordinary Australians with extraordinary abilities and aspirations”.

“Churchill Fellows are up for a challenge, they are people who can foresee an opportunity, know how to address it and will use this experience to work with and learn from their international peers and some outstanding thought leaders. 

“Each and every one of the 112 Churchill Fellows will return to Australia inspired with the practical knowledge and experience needed to advance their projects and embed new opportunities in Australia.” 

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