Local pharmacist scoops national award

Meryl Davies collecting her award

Meryl Davies, Primary Care Antibiotic Pharmacist at Hywel Dda University Health Board has won the Pharmacist of the Year award at the prestigious Advancing Healthcare Awards Wales held in November.

Meryl was recognised for her innovative and disciplined way of working, focusing on addressing the appropriateness of prescribing of antibiotics. She has audited general practices to assess appropriateness and then visited each practice along with a consultant microbiologist to discuss and educate prescribers on appropriate prescribing of antibiotics. This process has seen an improvement in antibiotic prescribing at re-audit and has received positive feedback from practices. Patients on repeat antibiotics are now reviewed to ensure that medication is still appropriate to avoid unnecessary harm.

Meryl has also provided advice on the implementation of new testing machines to help identify likely bacterial respiratory infections and has represented the health board on its national work steam. She has also worked with the Ceredigion Infection Prevention Nurse and Frailty Nurse on the management of urinary tract infections in care homes. This resulted in a 30% reduction in the amount of antibiotics prescribed during the pilot phase and a reduction in urine samples sent to the laboratory. The methods used in this pilot has now been adopted across Wales. Patients benefit from less evasive testing and appropriate use of antibacterials.

Meryl’s reputation is well known amongst the executive team. She is focused, driven, and enthusiastic and is both visible and accessible to support clinicians across the Health Board. She has demonstrated a passion for this role and has a vision for how it can be developed.

On received this national award, Meryl said: “It is a great honour to receive this award, especially in their first year. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that the work I have been doing is recognised by my colleagues. I am passionate about the field of antimicrobial stewardship and putting patients at the centre of all the work we do. I would like to thank all my colleagues with whom I work closely for their support, without this I could not have been nominated for this award.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community & Long Term Care added: “I’m very proud indeed of Meryl and delighted to see that the work that she has undertaken successfully in this field has been recognised at a national level. It’s important that achievements such as this are acknowledged, as it shows that we can find ways of making things better for our services and patients.”

The first Advancing Healthcare Awards Wales celebration event was held on the evening of 26 November at the Holland House Mercure Hotel, Cardiff. With an opening address from the Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales, it was attended by guests, finalists and supporters from across healthcare science, allied health professions and pharmacy to celebrate the inspiring achievements of these professionals working to improve citizen health across Wales.

The celebration event followed the inaugural Welsh Government `All Wales’ Conference: Healthier Wales - the Value of Person-Centred Care for allied health professionals, healthcare scientists and pharmacists.

Supporters of the awards include the Welsh Government, Welsh Therapies Advisory Committee, Welsh Scientific Advisory Committee, Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee, Public Health Wales, Health and Care Research Wales, Health and Education Improvement Wales (HEIW), The College of Podiatry, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Society and College of Radiographers.

The awards were open to allied health professionals, healthcare scientists and pharmacists in Wales and are part of the UK-wide Advancing Healthcare Awards programme, now in its 15th year and open for entries until 8 January 2020. The awards are organised by Chamberlain Dunn.