A pre-registration pharmacy student from Glasgow has won a prestigious award for pioneering a pilot programme supporting carers in the city. Joanne Malloy, 22, was named Pre-Registration Student of the Year at the Scottish Pharmacist Ball and Awards in Edinburgh earlier this month.

Part of Joanne’s winning submission to the awards panel was her successful involvement in a unique Carers Trust Scotland programme to support unpaid carers in the local community. 

A carer is someone of any age who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour, who couldn’t manage otherwise. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability.

Joanne gained her MPharm degree last summer and took up the position of pre-registration student at New Life Pharmacy, in Clarkston, where she must complete 52 weeks of training in employment and pass the registration exam before being admitted to the General Pharmaceutical Council register.

Her employer and tutor, Elizabeth Roddick FRPharmS who owns New Life Pharmacy, suggested Joanne become a Carers’ Champion as part of her training and the pilot programme was then developed with Lindsay Lockhart of Carers Trust Scotland.

Carers’ Champion is a unique project and following its positive pilot in Clarkston, there is potential to develop the service throughout the community pharmacy network and roll it out in NHS Health Boards across Scotland, using New Life Pharmacy as the model.

Being a carer can affect many aspects of someone’s life: physical, financial, emotional and social. The aim of the Carers’ Champion initiative was to increase the identification and support of unpaid carers within the community so they can receive help before they reach crisis point.

As Carers’ Champion, Joanne underwent extra training, met with community workers and spoke at a carers’ gathering on how community pharmacy could help and support people caring for a friend or loved one. She also met with Mark Mulhern, manager of East Renfrewshire Carers Centre, the centre to which carers would be signposted.

Joanne’s pharmacy role meant she was well-placed to identify carers in the local area who might benefit from access to the support and advice available.

Joanne said: “I’ve loved working with Lindsay at Carers Trust Scotland and all those at East Renfrewshire Carers Centre. I’m so honoured to have won the award and hope that it can help publicise the work of Carers Trust. This shows the excellent contribution community pharmacies can make to support unpaid carers.”

Elizabeth Roddick nominated Joanne for the award. She said: “I’m truly delighted Joanne has won the award. The Carers’ Champion project is really worthwhile and I’m so pleased New Life Pharmacy has led the way.

“I’d like it to be a springboard to wider involvement across Scotland and with all health boards. It’s a great opportunity for pharmacists to get involved in supporting carers and working with local carers centres.”

Florence Burke, Director of Carers Trust Scotland, said: “Joanne did very well to win the award and it’s a great recognition of the work she put in to make the Carers’ Champion pilot a success.

“Carers often put their needs behind the person they’re looking after and may not have opportunities to talk to anyone about how they are coping. They may have had to give up work or experience a reduction in income, they may become stressed or suffer depression.

“Joanne’s role was all about recognising those people and helping them get the support they need and she has shown how this unique project, if broadened out to other areas, could bring positive changes to the lives of carers across the country.”