Olutayo Arikawe, 39, a community pharmacist in Dudley has been chosen as the national winner of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s ‘I Love My Pharmacist Award’.
Running for the third year, the national title has been awarded to Olutayo for going above and beyond the call of duty in the name of excellent patient care.
The I Love My Pharmacist Award recognises the vital role pharmacists play across the NHS. Often, the unsung heroes of the health service, work alongside GPs, nurses and hospital staff, as well as in the community, providing expert advice and crucial services such as medication reviews and stop smoking services.
Olutayo, who works at The Priory Community Pharmacy in Dudley, was shortlisted by an expert panel to become one of 23 regional finalists back in June 2016. Thousands of members of the public then voted for their favourite pharmacist and in August Olutayo was announced as the regional winner for Midlands and East.
The final stage of the competition took place in London on September 9th and saw Olutayo, along with five other regional winners, meet with and present to the judging panel to determine the eventual winner of I Love My Pharmacist 2016.
The judges chose Olutayo as this year’s winner due to her outstanding contribution in improving the lives of her patients. They believe Olutayo’s pharmacy is a community asset as it is more than a place that just dispenses medicines.
Olutayo’s commitment to patient care is second to none, helping patients improve their health in a wide variety of ways, for example promoting alcohol awareness and supporting alcohol dependent patients. She has converted the pharmacy’s boardroom into an exercise room for patients and she has also created a ‘safe space’ where people who have worries – especially people with mental health and drug dependency problems – can come and speak to her and discuss their problems. Olutayo’s commitment doesn’t stop there; she is involved locally by giving lectures at the University of Wolverhampton, as well as giving career advice to pharmacy students.
Olutayo Arikawe said: “I am really honoured and delighted to be the winner of I Love My Pharmacist Award 2016’. Patient care is at the core of everything that we do at the Priory Community Pharmacy – I believe that if you take care of the community, they will in turn take care of you.
“I’m overwhelmed that so many of my patients took the time out of their day to vote for me. It shows that all the hard work that my team and I put into our community does not go unnoticed. I want to say a big thank you to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for this opportunity and a big thank you to my staff and patients for all their support throughout this award.
“The judging day was an eye opener – it was a pleasure to meet the other finalists and to learn about the great work they do. I Love My Pharmacist Award is a fantastic platform to showcase the extra mile these pharmacists went for their patients. Together we can create greater awareness of the role of pharmacists in the NHS.”