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pharmacyfirstlogoIsland pharmacist, Francisco Alvarez, who works at Regent Pharmacy in Shanklin and is the Community Pharmacist Lead for the Primary Care Prescribing Committee at the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has just been voted Public Health Pharmacist of the Year.

Francisco, who is also Community Pharmacy Wessex Academy Lead for the island, received the award organised by Pharmacy Business Magazine for ‘excelling in providing outstanding public health services and enhanced patient care in the community’.

Nominated by Shanklin Mayor Jon Gilbey, Francisco has helped make tremendous strides in public health. He and his team at Regent Pharmacy have driven the public health agenda with passion, notably his role in the Pharmacy First Scheme, which enables residents to access advice and treatment for minor ailments. It allows patients with a condition such as earache, cough and cold, skin rashes, eye infection and upset tummy to go to their pharmacist for a consultation instead of trying to get a prescription from the GP.

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The Scheme has been a huge success, helping avoid situations where patients go without treatment or unnecessarily, contact their GP practice, NHS 111 or out of hours care. Francisco’s local community does not have to make an appointment to see him or a member of his team, and they can talk to them in confidence about any health issue.

The judges commented:

“Francisco plays a crucial role in public health on the Isle of Wight. In driving the public health agenda, Francisco and his team promotes Pharmacy First in their pharmacy, local schools, voluntary and statutory groups.

“Pharmacy First has enabled more than 5,000 islanders to be seen since it started in 2014. Francisco has grasped public health with relish and I am sure he will continue to do so in the years ahead. Making it easier for the public to address their health concerns and taking the pressure off GP surgeries: it’s all in a day’s work for Francisco”.

On receiving the award from David Mowat, MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Department of Health at the Pharmacy Business Awards 2016 ceremony last week in London, Francisco commented:

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“I feel rather proud to live  and serve the public on the IOW as well as working alongside colleagues from CCG, NHS Trust, LPC and the Council”.

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