Buchanhaven pharmacy team goes above and beyond

The Buchanhaven team

CRIMOND Pharmacy has been a Numark member since they opened and are well-known for their passion, commitment and dedication to the pharmacy profession. They certainly stand out from the crowd in many ways and continue to diversify their business and strive to deliver exceptional service to their local communities.

However, for the past six years they have been operating out of a Portakabin pending development of their new all singing, all dancing pharmacy premises situated in the centre of Crimond, Aberdeenshire.

We spoke to pharmacy manager Lauren Duncan about the long-awaited grand opening.

“The Crimond Medical Centre was a dispensing doctor’s practice up until 2011 when Sam Reid, owner and manager became involved in the opening of Crimond Pharmacy. A purpose-built Portakabin was set up in the car park of the GP surgery intended to serve as the pharmacy for two years until we moved into the new medical centre and community hub. However, due to many delays we spent six years in the Portakabin until our move finally happened in September this year.”

The new Medical Centre and Community Hub is located just along the road from the old premises on the outskirts of the village and making the move was a real team effort: “During the weekend of our move staff and their families knuckled down to pack up the old premises and relocate to our new shop. Our new front shop was stocked up over several weeks beforehand with the girls working over and above their normal hours to get it done prior to the opening.

“After a busy weekend of relocating we opened to the public on Monday September 4, and on the 8th we held an open day where we had balloons, cupcakes, coffee, a free prize draw and the ribbon was officially cut. We had a great turn out and it was a fantastic day.”

But, it wasn’t all plain sailing, as Lauren explains: “We faced a few challenges in our temporary premises — dispensing between 6-7,000 items a month in such a small space was challenging at times as there was very limited space for excess stock, for dispensing/making up dosette boxes etc. We made do with what we had at the time, but it wasn’t until we were in our new shop that we wondered how on earth we ever managed!

“We didn’t have a front shop in the Portakabin just a small back wall of OTC products — this wasn’t ideal, as there is such a wide range of products we would have loved to have stocked but we could only stock the most popular items requested by patients. Now we have a big front shop with a wide range of healthcare and personal care products.”

Business benefits
But, the struggle has really paid off. “Since our move we have been much busier — the girls have coped so well and everyone has involved themselves in the new roles and responsibilities. Our customers are full of praise for the new centre; it’s such a great thing for a small village. It includes the medical centre, the pharmacy, a café, gym, beautician and CLAN cancer support rooms. It’s just great and has been busy since the day we opened – our customers love having a shop to look round, or go for a coffee as they wait for their prescriptions.

“We have a purpose-built consultation room which is ideal for providing services such as smoking cessation, blood pressure and urine testing, flu vaccination EHC and pregnancy testing amongst a wide range of other services.

“The GPs don’t relocate to the new centre until November and we were concerned this would be an issue for some patients being used to everything in the one place, however they have dealt with it very well and we’ve had no issues so far.”

Lauren started working at Buchanhaven Pharmacy Ltd on a Saturday in the Peterhead shop in 2004 alongside Sam, when she was 15. She went to RGU in 2007, graduated with her Masters in 2011 and completed her pre-reg year at Buchanhaven before starting work as the pharmacist in Crimond in 2012 (part of the Buchanhaven Pharmacy Ltd company). 

“I love my job and I’m so thankful I’ve been given the chance to work in such great new premises. I enjoy providing services such as blood pressure and diabetes testing, as I like providing a hands on service to our patients. I am also currently carrying out polypharmacy reviews of our dosette box and CMS patients at the GP surgery which I really enjoy.

“I hope our new premises will attract more patients and our consultation room will encourage them to take advantage of the range of services available. I plan to do my independent prescribing course in January next year as this will also let me provide even more services to patients, which I’m really looking forward to. It’s an ever-changing profession, so it’s important we keep up to date with new products and services,” said Lauren.

Fundraising and local events
Manager and owner of Buchanhaven Pharmacies Ltd, Sam Reid, and her team also do some incredible work for charity. Most recently they raised funds for Stoke Scotland after a member of Sam’s team devastatingly suffering a stroke at the age of 29.

“Ashley had worked for us since I bought the business, back in 2004. Last year in November she had a stroke totally out of the blue when her new baby was around a year old.

“She struggled hard with her thought processes when she tried to return to work a few months later and I think the call of her new baby led to the difficult decision for her to resign.

“We decided to start fundraising for Stroke Scotland in 2017.   Amongst other activities we’ve hosted a week-long bake sale, held raffles, book sales, made and sold jam, chutney and lemon curd — you name it we’ve done it.

Crimond Pharmacy chose to partner with CLAN – a local cancer support group. “The pharmacies have an activity on the go all the time – it’s given us a real buzz! Customers have knitted and dressed dolls, donated hampers, bottles of whisky, knitted toys, loads of books and even the shelves to display them on!” explained Sam.

But, the biggest event by far was the sky dive. “Ashley went along with the girls for moral support and six of our staff threw themselves out of a plane! To date we have raised just short of £5,000 which is incredible. Our customers have been so supportive as they all loved and miss Ashley very much.

“I’m incredibly proud of my team for all their achievements, not only with their fundraising efforts but how they pulled together to make our recent relocation such a success.”

The business has been a member of Numark since Sam bought her first pharmacy around 13 years ago.

“Mostly we use them for staff training and own brand product, but more recently we have utilised the insurance too. We regularly use their advice lines too for business and personnel support.”


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