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Alphega Pharmacy Young Guns

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Alphega Pharmacy Young Guns

In the latest of a series of interviews with the next generation of pharmacists, Navdeep Chahal from Sidhu’s Pharmacy in the West Midlands says he wants pharmacies to evolve from medication dispensing points to central healthcare destinations…


 Where did you go to university and what year did you qualify as a pharmacist?

I started studying at Wolverhampton University in 2010 and qualified as a pharmacist in 2015. I’m the superintendent pharmacist at Sidhu’s Pharmacy in West Bromwich but we have five pharmacies in total offering many products and health services.


What makes the pharmacy you work in so special to the local community?

At Sidhu’s Pharmacy our purpose is to provide a personal patient experience and improve health outcomes in the close-knit community that we serve. Every day we help a wide range of patients, from assisting the elderly with their flu vaccines to providing a mother in need with our funded minor alignment service.

We often spend at least 15 minutes with patients asking them about their day or discussing how they can better manage their medication. Building relationships with our patients is important to us and enables our business to thrive.


Tell us a little about the area where you are based and the types of patients who come to you…

Sidhu’s Pharmacy has been on West Bromwich high street for 35 years now, in a multicultural area with patients from all walks of life. We also meet a lot of vulnerable people, so I feel it’s our responsibility to go the extra mile when they may not have someone else to rely on.


Give an example of how you and your pharmacy have gone the extra mile in the name of patient care…

It’s difficult to give one example as every day we are going the extra mile for our patients.

Since the coronavirus pandemic we have seen that a lot of elderly patients who previously visited the pharmacy are now unfortunately housebound.

If a vulnerable patient can’t make it to the pharmacy for their flu vaccine, we will visit them in their own home. If we receive a phone call just as we are closing at 6:00pm and a patient requires emergency medication, we will organise the prescription and drop it off at their house as we understand how important it is to them.


What are your hopes for the future of your profession?

My hope for the future is that we continue to evolve from being a medication dispensing point to a central healthcare destination. The Covid pandemic caused the world to turn its attention to health, and we kept our doors open to help people when others were not able to do so.

Since then, we are itching to do more and now have the confidence to better meet a patient’s health needs. I constantly think of the future and know that we must evolve to keep up with the competition (there are multiple pharmacies on our high street).

To invest in myself and the business, I’m looking at additional training so that we can offer a health and beauty service which includes aesthetics and blood services.

Community pharmacy requires more support and representation so that we can be equipped to provide more immediate and direct patient care, taking the burden off the NHS.


What concerns do you have for the future of community pharmacy?

Community pharmacy is recognised as a highly valued resource, but it needs to be taken further. We are equipped and ready to go, we just need the funding and action to take things forward so that we can be at the forefront of patient care.

The decisions made now will be critical in crafting the future we want for pharmacy. Checking medications is no longer satisfying for pharmacists, as we want to be a service-driven business in the next five to 10 years.

We need young pharmacists to take the lead and bring longevity to the business, embracing new ways of bringing healthcare closer to the patient.


Navdeep Chahal is an Alphega Pharmacy member.

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