Northam pharmacy named in top five in the country

It's a business with humble beginnings that has now been shortlisted as the country's Pharmacy of the Year.

The Wheatbelt Health Centre Pharmacy has gone from strength to strength to achieve the national accolade.

Announced last week, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia named the Northam business a finalist in the 2020 Pharmacy of the Year competition.

Wheatbelt Health Centre Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Daniel O'Driscoll said the commitment to collaboration was one aspect that made the pharmacy unique.

"The strongest part of our application was how we are collaborating with other health practitioners and that is a space the pharmacy guild is pursuing," he said.

"Because of our proximity to other professionals at the Wheatbelt Health Network we've really made it a point to involve ourselves more closely with our patient's therapy outside of dispensing their prescriptions.

"We are guiding their care as much as any other health professional is."

Mr O'Driscoll has seen the business transform since its inception.

"I started off in the business by myself with my mum helping me out - that's how it had to start because I didn't have a lot of money," he said.

"I think of the early days when I was here by myself with my mum making the cups of tea - we've come a long way.

"It would be remiss of me to say this is just a financial venture - it isn't.

"I've always felt that if you look after the customer the rest will look after itself.

"It's nice to be recognised among your peers - that doesn't happen very often."

Managing pharmacist Georgia Bolden said proprietor Mr O'Driscoll had been vital in supporting changes in the pharmacy.

"He is truly a remarkable person to work for," she said.

"He has been supportive of all my suggested changes.

"We work fantastically as a team and play to each other's strengths."

Ms Bolden said although a small team, the pharmacy invested in training and ensuring everyone's skills were up-to-date.

"Our team has grown significantly from three to five," she said.

"Both pharmacists are vaccination trained and all staff CPR trained so vaccinations are able to be given at all times we are open.

"We have invested time for staff to do online and on-site training, we are also continually upskilling our staff and giving them the opportunity to develop and enhance their own knowledge bases.

"Idea generation and creating a solid, nurtured team is what has given us stability and the ability to grow and excel."

Ms Bolden said the collaboration and team work set the pharmacy up for a viable and sustainable future.

"The development of core collaborations and our positioning as the medication experts in town is how we future-proof ourselves," she said.

"Our future is to build on relationships with patients and other health care providers."

Mr O'Driscoll thanked the Northam community for the role they played in the nomination.

"We can't take all the accolades because we recognise that there have been numerous people involved over the course of our operation," he said.

"It is a recognition of just how well the whole space is working especially within the Wheatbelt."

The overall Guild Pharmacy of the Year winner will be announced at the 2020 Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and Trade Exhibition being held on the Gold Coast from March 19-22.