London Ambulance Service’s first chief pharmacist wins award
By Neil Trainis
The London Ambulance Service’s first ever chief pharmacist has been recognised with an award for her medicines management work in the service.
Sumithra Maheswaran was crowned Innovation Champion at the 2023 Ambulance Leadership Forum Awards at Celtic Manor, an event hosted by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).
Maheswaran, who became the Trust’s first chief pharmacist six years ago, was honoured for leading on its medicines modernisation programme, ensuring medicines are stored and tracked effectively and are easily accessed by medical experts.
The London Ambulance Service’s chief executive Daniel Elkeles said Maheswaran and her team “have played an absolutely vital role in improving patient care.”
“(She and her team have ensured) our medics can prepare their ambulances with stocks of medication more quickly and safely than ever before. Thanks to her incredibly hard and scrupulous work, we are leading the way in medicine management in ambulance services,” Elkeles said.
“We are incredibly proud that the efforts from Sumithra and her team have been recognised on a national level and I again offer my congratulations to everyone involved.”
The London Ambulance Service said that since joining in 2017, she “has been instrumental in creating a trail-blazing medicines packing facility, staffed by the largest pharmaceutical team of any ambulance service in the country.”
The service also said Maheswaran had introduced secure drug rooms to store medications in the last two years at all 59 of its ambulance stations and led her 37-strong team to roll out electronic tracking of every drug “from pallet to patient.”
That work, the service said, had “significantly” reduced medicines packaging errors and improved patient care “across the service.”
The Ambulance Leadership Forum Awards is an annual event which launched in 2006 to recognise senior leaders across the UK ambulance sector.