Pharmacy Forum NI held its Rewarding Excellence event in the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Building on Thursday 10 November. The event showcased the best in pharmacy through the awarding of Fellowships to pharmacists who have excelled in the profession.
Pharmacy professionals joined politicians and other guests to recognise and celebrate excellence in the pharmacy profession. The Pharmacy Forum NI conferred three new fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society NI, Dr Tracey Boyce, Joe Brogan and Sheelin McKeagney. The Pharmacy Forum NI also awarded Gold Medals to the overall top students in pharmacy, from Queens University Belfast, Danielle Allen and from Ulster University Coleraine Oisin Kavanagh. Muriel Singleton was presented a certificate to acknowledge her 50 years of registration and service to pharmacy.
Being appointed a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of NI is one of the highest honours that can be bestowed upon a pharmacist. It is an honour which recognises those individuals who have attained distinction in a particular aspect or aspects of their pharmacy career.
Dr Tracy Boyce was awarded a Fellowship in recognition of her distinction to pharmacy in Northern Ireland. Tracey has served as Director of Pharmacy and Medicines Management in the Southern HSC Trust since January 2006.
In 2014 Tracey took on additional responsibility as the lead for Governance in the Trust’s Acute Services Directorate and also participates in the Trust’s Assistant Director on-call rota and the Acute operational Assistant Director rota, taking her turn to oversee the day to day running of the Trust’s two acute hospitals.
Before taking up post in the Southern HSC Trust Tracey was an Assistant Director of Pharmacy in the Royal Hospitals Trust. During that time her principal role was to lead and develop the newly formed Northern Ireland Medicines Governance Team. The team, funded by the DHSSPSNI, consisted of six senior hospital pharmacists whose role was to improve medication related patient safety. In 2004 the Team won the UK Health Service Journal Award for Patient Safety.
Joe Brogan was awarded a Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding service to Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. Joe is the Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management for the Health and Social Care Board.
Joe has been recognised for his excellence in the promotion of pharmacy and his work with other healthcare stakeholders in promoting pharmacy. Joe has been instrumental in overseeing the development and delivery of evidence based practice across primary care through initiatives including the Northern Ireland Regional Formulary.
Joe has worked in a number of senior positions since qualifying from Queens University including as Senior Pharmaceutical Officer where he oversaw the a number of key strategies for pharmacy including ‘Making it better through Pharmacy in the Community and the Medicines Management Controls Assurance Standards He also went to Africa for twenty six months working in a mission hospital pharmacy in northern Zambia through Voluntary Services Overseas.
Sheelin McKeagney was awarded a Fellowship in recognition of his exception service to his community and pharmacy, Sheelin has served as Board member of the Health and Social Care Board and also as Chairman of the Southern Local Commissioning Groups, he was the first pharmacist in Northern Ireland to Chair a Local Commissioning Group.
Sheelin serves as the Community Pharmacist representative on the influential Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board. He also a Board member of the Community Development Health Network which works to improve people’s lives, health and well-being through community development which releases individual and community capacity and influences change. He currently chairs the Craigavon Heart Town committee, a British Heart Foundation initiative to raise physical activity and reduce heart disease in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area.
He is currently a member of the Strategic Leadership Group for Pharmacy at the Department of Health. Currently he holds positions on the National Appeals Panel and on the Professional Practice Committee of the Health and Social Care Board. He is currently the Chair of the Pharmacy Forum NI.
Closing the event Pharmacy Forum NI Chair and newly conferred Fellow Sheelin Keagney stated:
“The Department of Health consulted on the ‘Future of Pharmacy Regulation’ with the aim of examining viable options to deliver strengthened and modernised regulation.
The concept of the consultation is right; we need to rethink how we regulate healthcare professionals. Sadly the consultation did not do this; we need to have that discussion now! What is the best way to regulate pharmacists in Northern Ireland that is not only in the best interest of the public, but also enables the profession to flourish?”
Whilst talking about the Minister of Health’s Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together document he stated;
“The Minister’s vision is a good start in addressing the long-term issues affecting our Health and Social Care System.
There are opportunities for all healthcare professionals, and in particular pharmacists, to help change how we deliver care. It has been well documented that we must shift the current emphasis on acute and episodic care towards prevention, self-care and integrated and co-ordinated care, to cope with an aging population and increased prevalence of chronic diseases. Pharmacists already play key roles in both primary and secondary care, through the Medicines Optimisation, Quality Framework and the “Making it Better Through Pharmacy in the Community” Strategy, by keeping people healthy and reducing the burden on the acute care.
As the professional leadership body we encourage and promote those who push the boundaries of practice to meet the needs of our patients and changing models of care.
I believe that pharmacists in all settings are ready to meet the challenges of reducing the 40.5 million prescription items that were dispensed through community pharmacies in 2015 however, adequate focus must be given to the importance of optimal medicine use across the health service.”
Sheelin concluded with;
But let us also remember :
- Pharmacy is the most accessible Health Care service available to the Public
- Pharmacists are the Medicines Expert
- Pharmacist will be taking on more clinical roles in community and hospital
And over the next 12 month the Forum and I will continue to make the case for pharmacists.