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Kirby Sowden

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Kirby Sowden

"I strongly believe it's now time for Kirby to be recognised by the wider pharmacy and healthcare community," says her pharmacist Muddassar Hussain

“I never thought this is what I would be doing,” says Kirby Sowden, who started at the branch of Boots UK in Bradford’s Broadway Shopping Centre as a Christmas temp just over 10 years ago. But now, having worked her way through her healthcare, counter assistant and dispensing assistant training courses, she says: “I am so glad I did it – I absolutely love it. It really is the best.”

Pharmacist Muddassar Hussain, who nominated Kirby for the Service Excellence Award, is also extremely grateful that she followed this career path. “As the only pharmacy advisor currently working in store, Kirby plays a pivotal role in supporting myself and the other pharmacists who work at the branch, single-handedly running our dispensary, as well as taking on the roles of patient safety champion and healthy living champion,” he says.

Covid commitment

The pharmacy runs a travel health clinic, and off the back of this, just before Christmas 2020, Kirby recognised the need for PCR testing that would enable local people to travel on essential journeys. “No one in the area was doing it, so I raised the question as to whether this was something we could do – and it’s been massive!” says Kirby.

Now having tested hundreds of customers, she’s taken the stress out of the situation for people who may be dealing with bereavement and other difficult circumstances. Kirby says Google Translate has been her best friend throughout, and she’s made it her priority to help people get home.

Outstanding feedback

Her customers, service users and colleagues appreciate all that Kirby does for them, and Muddassar says that she regularly gets outstanding feedback about her contribution to the pharmacy. “I strongly believe it’s now the time for her to be recognised by the wider pharmacy and healthcare community,” he adds.

The RoE Awards judges agree with Muddassar. Elen Jones, director for Wales at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, praises Kirby’s “commitment to the community”. And Richard Dunne, senior manager pharmacy learning and development at Boots UK, adds that Kirby’s story demonstrates “the critical role community played through Covid.”

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Recognition of Excellence Awards 2021