Howick pharmacy collects major award

The team at Crawford House Pharmacy, from left, Mubashra Larsen, Leane Steele, Basma Hikmet, Rachel Knight and Kimberley Davis.

Crawford House Pharmacy in Howick’s Picton Street  has won the Green Cross Health Innovation in Delivering People Centred Care award at the annual NZ Pharmacy Awards.

This award was presented to Basma Hikmet, who manages the pharmacy.

Pharmacist and owner Leane Steele said: “The campaign we ran, that was the basis of our entry, was a programme we implemented in conjunction with the Crawford Medical practice (next door) and our local PHO  – East Health.

“We initiated our plan by presenting to the doctors’ meeting (around 14 doctors) about antibiotic resistance and the importance of not using antibiotics unnecessarily, especially in viral illness (for example for colds and flu).

“The PHO concurrently issued “Responsible Antibiotic Prescriber” to those doctors who were involved in the PHO programme.

“We felt we could support/encourage change in behaviour, because we often saw scripts for antibiotics when it seemed unnecessary.”

The pharmacy presented alternatives that doctors could consider when they had a patient with a viral illness, firstly symptom relief (pain relief, nasal sprays, cough medicine and decongestants).
Secondly the pharmacy gave them options of research-backed/evidence-based natural health products they could recommend with confidence.

The doctors found it useful to have options to ‘prescribe’ when antibiotics were not indicated, as doctors are often pressured by patients for antibiotics.

“We also agreed a strategy with doctors around ‘back pocket scripts’ – which is when the doctor gives a prescription for antibiotics if symptoms get worse – intending patients to wait a few days before filling.

“We, along with the doctors, had posters and pamphlets promoting the message.  The collaboration between pharmacy and medical practice made for seamless information and education being offered to patients to ensure they felt confident with their experience.”

Mrs Steele said they immediately noticed a significant decrease in antibiotic prescriptions, along with an adoption of their recommendations for alternatives.

“For us in the pharmacy, we were pleased to forego our dispensing income on antibiotic scripts and were rewarded with increased sales in the other areas,” she said.

“In health we talk a lot about collaboration and integration..The judges and also David Clark (Minister of Health, guest speaker at event) made particular mention of our entry and how important it was demonstrating this to others in our profession.

“Our chosen focus of Antibiotic Resistance is very topical and of great significance in health currently.”

The collaboration and relationship with doctors means they are able to support each other with further projects in the future.

“Currently we are working with doctors on further PHO initiatives and I personally really appreciate being able to facilitate pharmacists working to the top of their scope,” said Mrs Steele.