Recognition of Excellence Awards 2021
A love for the community is vital when working in pharmacy, and it is clear that medicines counter assistant Gregor Main has this by the bucket load.
Gregor explains that the reason he got into pharmacy initially “is quite a weird and wonderful story”. After having lived in eastern Europe for a time, he came home and was looking for work when the financial director at his mum’s pharmacy – Right Medicine Pharmacy in Kyle of Lochalsh – asked around to see if there was a tech-savvy person available to help on a new project.
Gregor stepped up and was hired for two weeks to help implement a new tech system, including touchscreen tills and a computerised scanning system for the product barcodes. “It was sort of being somewhere at the right time in the right place,” he says. “I had done computer studies at college so had some understanding. Some of the people here had never even used a touchscreen phone before, so they just needed someone to show them how things work.”
Four years later, Gregor is still working at the pharmacy full-time, alongside his mum, and he has made quite an impression.
Catering for all
Described by area support manager Nadine Mackay as “a hit with local patients and customers”, Gregor has a great eye for rotating stock and trying new things, which he puts down to knowing the local demographic and adapting to suit.
“We have the locals who often have seasonal jobs in restaurants and shops, and there are lots of fishermen,” says Gregor. “Then we have the retirees who have just bought the half a million pound properties on the Isle of Skye. We cater to both sides and extremes.”
Kyle of Lochalsh is located in mainland Scotland, opposite the Isle of Skye, and its relatively remote location meant that stocking the right products during the pandemic was crucial for people unable to leave the rural community.
Thinking outside the box
The locals are very environmentally conscious, so Gregor makes sure the pharmacy stocks a lot of eco-friendly products, including cleaning products in recycled packaging. “We’re at the point now where people bring in their own bottles,” he says. “There is absolutely a demand for this.”
Being located in an area that’s hugely popular with tourists, the pharmacy also stocks a range of items that wouldn’t be found in a typical pharmacy. “We sell things like local pottery so it gives everyone an opportunity to appreciate the locals,” says Gregor. “We work together as a whole community and a team. It avoids stepping on anyone’s toes. We play smart and play together.”
During the pandemic, Gregor took the initiative to send out photos and videos of the pharmacy’s stock so that housebound and shielding patients could phone and order Christmas gifts for loved ones. “I had a real sense of warmth reading Gregor’s nomination,” says Liz Fidler, RoE judge and president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK. “It is clear Gregor cares about the community he serves.”
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