Being named Guild Pharmacy of the Year has helped to cement the culture of excellence at Pharmacy 777 at Nollamara in Western Australia, its owner says.
According to proprietor Swarup Afsar (Sam), it also has underscored the close relationship the pharmacy has with its patients and the local community.
Afsar says that nearly a year after winning the award, the pharmacy is on a mission of continuing improvement.
This mission has been underpinned by winning the award, an event which also marked “the start of a process, rather the end of one”.
“Excellence is no longer an option; it’s a given,” Afsar says.
“Being named Pharmacy of the Year was a real eye-opener for us. It has been a launching pad for us to achieve even better results for our patients, and also for the pharmacy business.
“It has also been great recognition for the staff and all the staff and pharmacists are now committed to taking our pharmacy to the next level.”
Another outcome of winning the award is that the pharmacy is looking at employing another mental health counsellor.
“The award has given us a lot of recognition over the provision of the mental health services we provide and now we are looking to expand the number of hours of counselling we can offer in response to increased demand,” he says.
“Other pharmacies in the Pharamcy777 group are also now looking to share a counsellor so they can offer expanded mental health services after seeing our model. Our group is very close-knit and we share ideas and concepts across pharmacies.”
The pharmacy’s patients loved being able to go to a pharmacy that was recognised as the best in Australia, and some were travelling up to 40kn just to visit the pharmacy.
“Their response has been great but we also recognise that our patients are what make us so we have been thanking them. We rolled out a red carpet for more than three months so that every patient recognised that we regard them as very special people.”
The pharmacy also organised a street party celebration in conjunction with other businesses and local clubs and Afsar says it attracted more than 400 people.
“Basically the whole of Nollamara came.”
Federal Member for Stirling Michael Keenan, and Amber-Jade Sanderson, MLC member for East Metropolitan Region, Ian Britza MLA member for Morley and Janine Freeman MLA member for Mirrabooka were among the dignitaries to attend the street party.
Afsar says the party was a thankyou for the patients without whom the pharmacy would not have been able to reach the heights of success it has.
“Our patients have been great. We support each other and we treat each other like a big happy family,” Afsar says.
This approach was commented on by one of the judges of the award, pharmacist Bill Scott.
“Everybody is greeted by a pharmacist usually by their name. The pharmacy has a rule everybody is a patient not a customer but for me everybody seems like a friend. Professionalism counts,” he says.
Afsar says treating everyone as a patient is a strict rule in the pharmacy.
“We actually have a swear jar – everyone has to put in a dollar for uttering the word ‘customer’. Such a culture helps us emphasise our professional services,” he says.
“We have only pharmacists attending to every patient. Our pharmacists hand out every prescription which allows the best advice to be given out every time. We want to dispense our knowledge and not just prescriptions.”
For any pharmacy thinking of entering the Guild Pharmacy of the Year competition, Afsar’s advice is: “Go for it.”
“It is a very rewarding process and builds confidence in you, your staff and is a great incentive for continuing to improve and introduce new services,” he says.