Dynamic rural pharmacy makes the finals

Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central
Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central.

Meeting the needs of as many people as it can is a key focus for this category winner in the Pharmacy of the Year Award

The diverse population found in the vast area around the Kalgoorlie region presents many challenges, but for Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central, helping as much as it can is paramount to the way it operates.

To achieve this the pharmacy offers a wide range of tailored professional services and the way it manages and delivers these services has resulted in it being named winner of the Excellence in Professional Innovation category of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Pharmacy of the Year competition.

The awards, sponsored by Care Pharmaceuticals and QCPP, recognise pharmacies that are leaders in providing innovative and optimal healthcare for members of their community.

One of the winners of the three competition categories—Excellence in Professional Innovation,   Excellence in Community Engagement, and Excellence in Business Management—will be named the overall 2020 Pharmacy of the Year on Thursday, 19 March 2020.

Spokesperson for the judging group Nick Panayiaris, Pharmacy Guild of Australia National Councillor and President of the South Australian Branch of the Guild, said innovation in developing and delivering professional services was fundamental to the future of the profession.

“One area the judges look at in this category is what professional health services the pharmacy provides, whether on the premises or off-site, that are unique or fill a special gap in their community. We found Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central has undertaken exceptional work in this area,” he said.

“For instance, Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central is a key component in health delivery in the Goldfields of WA. It services Aboriginal health at Bega Garnbirringu based in Kalgoorlie, the people of Tjuntjunjarra at Spinifex Health located 600km from Kalgoorlie and through the hospitals at Laverton and Leonora and nursing post in Menzies.

“This is a huge area with a very diverse population whose professional service needs are varied. The pharmacy has decided to focus on professional service delivery and has invested in automation so that its pharmacists can maximise their interaction with patients be available to interact with patients.”

Interns on rotation at the store often find they are getting a much broader education in pharmacy that they had anticipated.

Although 600km from the nearest capital city of Perth, the scale of the rural pharmacy’s operations can be an eye-opener.

Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central
Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central.

Proprietor Elise Wheadon said interns who came to the pharmacy often did not realise just how dynamic rural pharmacy can be.

“They don’t often see the broad range of services that we provide because we cater for such a large and diverse population,” Mrs Wheadon said.

“Compared with their other rotations they find their time with us to be unique and they are impressed and energised by it.

“It opens their eyes as to what community pharmacy can offer both patients and pharmacists. They gain valuable insight into Section 100 Aboriginal Health and the services the pharmacy can provide in indigenous communities.”

Mrs Wheadon said the scale of operations at the pharmacy also surprised many of the interns.

“Dose administration aids are good example. Most of the interns who come to us have only seen pharmacies that prepare low numbers compared to our pharmacy servicing 600 plus patients,” she said.

“They are amazed by the efficiencies we have had to implement to be able to operate on the scale we do.”

Another area that impressed was the number of services provided through the pharmacy.

“We are committed to cater for everyone in the communities we serve,” she said.

“We introduce services strategically as core components of our business and this had proven to be a very successful approach.”

“Sleep apnoea services are an integral part of our business and we invest heavily in ensuring we have exceptionally trained staff.”

Mrs Wheadon said the pharmacy’s flu vaccination service also was very popular and this year the pharmacy had delivered 1000 vaccinations in just two months.

“WA experienced a deadly flu season and we actively engaged with local businesses to reduce the impact on the region,” she said.

“We worked cooperatively with our local doctors and with the pharmacy immunising at such a level it allowed them help patients who contracted influenza.”

The strong relationship with doctors extends to other health professionals in the area.

“We have learnt the more connections between health providers, the better the outcomes for patients and the more effective and appropriate continuation of care can be engaged. 

Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central
Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central

“We have a strong emphasis on creating and maintaining alliances with health organisations to potentially further our service offering and increase revenue streams for business expansion.”

She stressed that not only providing services that customers needed was important, but also that the customer service was recognised as the most important aspect of the business.

“All of this combines to ensure customers continue to return and new customers choose Wizard Kalgoorlie Central as their preferred pharmacy,” Mrs Wheadon said.

“Great customer service directly correlates to increased sales and the continuation of learning and development of staff is key.”

The pharmacy has a strong rewards program which helps to ensure its value proposition matches its high level of customer service.

The service emphasis also means efforts are made to constantly improve pharmacist interaction with patients.

Mrs Wheadon is also looking at future proofing her business and keeping up with technology by implementing dispensary automation in the near future.

“The purpose is to get our pharmacists front and centre with patients and utilising their skills and knowledge.” 

“We see automation not only time saving for script processing but offering the ability to free up personnel in stock replenishment, date checking, merchandising and achieving better stock management. 

“We are constantly reviewing the products and services we offer ensuring they are relevant and fill the needs of the local community,” Mrs Wheadon said.

Care Pharmaceuticals’ General Manager Jonathan Biddle said the judges were impressed by the pharmacy’s commitment to ensuring local needs were met.

“They have trained their staff to deliver customised and highly targeted services that are designed specifically for their patients,” he said.

“They monitor these services and evaluate their success against strong criteria to ensure they continue to meet the needs of their community.”

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