Since she opened Orchard Pharmacy 20 years ago, owner Paula Morgan has witnessed significant changes in the role of the pharmacist.
She said, “It is no longer purely a dispensing role. We are more actively involved in giving advice about a healthy lifestyle and encouraging people to make healthy choices.
“New services have been introduced, such as the Asthma Review Service, which ensures that every time a prescription for an inhaler is issued, the patient’s inhaler technique is checked.”
Paula has also undertaken flu vaccine training which allows her to offer the private service of flu jabs to those who fall outside the at-risk groups.
In contrast to the early years, the Mandeville Street pharmacy stocks mobility aids such as shower stools and walking frames to help patients live in their own homes for longer.
The Minor Ailments Scheme also continues to be very popular, reducing the need for GP appointments, as does the prescription collection service from Portadown Health Centre.
The free Stop Smoking service has a proven track record and has been a real success story. Said Paula, “We provide advice and support for 12 weeks and the nicotine replacement therapy patches double the chance of giving up.”
Paula has also harnessed the power of the web, with the pharmacy website providing a useful source of help and advice, and the Facebook site also getting plenty of ‘hits’.
She said, “Pharmacy is always changing and I recently went on a new training scheme to become a Health Plus Pharmacy, which denotes that you offer a range of services and actively promote health.”
Some things remain constant, however, including the dedication of the staff to offering a personal service. Long-term staff member Amelia Woolsey has been with Paula since she first opened while Elva Crowe and Kim Hutchinson have each been there for more than 10 years.
Said Paula, “I really appreciate the hard work of the staff, and wish to thank patients for their custom over the years.”