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Park People: Abdirahman Hassan, Apollo Pharmacy

Published on 27 June 2024

For this month’s edition of Park People, Abdirahman Hassan, Milton Park’s resident pharmacist, shares how his team’s new services are transforming community healthcare, easing the load on the NHS and helping him fulfil his childhood dream.

Hi Abdi! Please can you tell us a bit about Apollo Pharmacy?

I put forward a case to the NHS to open a pharmacy at Milton Park and our doors finally opened in February 2021. We’ve been on quite a journey ever since.

Many people don’t realise our pharmacy is a first-line approach to many health conditions. Unlike going to see a doctor, we can perform instant consultations and prescribe effective treatments without the need for an appointment.

We can even prescribe antibiotics for UTIs, ear infections, sore throats, sinusitis, shingles, impetigo and insect bites, helping our patients receive treatment quickly and alleviating pressures at local GP surgeries.

What inspired you to become a pharmacist?

My background was the biggest influence on my career. Growing up in Africa, I saw first-hand how health inequality affects communities. I wanted to pursue a meaningful role that enabled me to help improve people’s health and livelihoods with effective medical treatments.

I originally wanted to study medicine, but life had other plans and I found my way into pharmacy. Whilst studying for a degree I learned all about biochemistry, physiology and the chemistry of drugs, before working in a few branches around Oxford.

What does your role entail?

The role has evolved much over the years. When I first started, my day-to-day was predominantly dispensing medicines. I learned so much about health, biology and medicine at university, but often felt my knowledge was underutilised while dispensing.

These days, the NHS’s strategy values pharmacists much more highly and recognises us for our skills. This means I get to do the things that inspired me to work in healthcare in the first place, which includes consulting with people, finding out their issues, and offering treatments. It’s an incredibly rewarding job.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Honestly, I enjoy every minute; from the moment I walk through the door until I finish, it’s a pleasure serving my community.

Some pharmacists choose to work in a GP or hospital, but I’m a big chatterbox, so I need to work in an environment where I get to talk to everyone.

It helps that I work with a great team too, they’re a lot younger than me, so I enjoy learning from them and listening to their different perspectives.

Do you have plans for the future?

Absolutely! We’re gearing up for a move to a larger premises at Milton Park next summer, in line with the Park’s amenity refresh. In the meantime, we’ll be based at 11 Park House from September (more on this below).

I hope to be able to offer more services to the community and become specialised in diabetes, so that we can receive GP referrals for the condition.

What do you enjoy about being based at Milton Park?

I can’t help but enjoy the beautiful landscaping at Milton Park. It’s peaceful here and the surroundings really lift my spirits. Since there’s so little traffic going by, I like going on quiet walks at lunch time.

There are also lots of amenities and they’re all close by, it has everything you want really.

It’s very fitting that I work near leading research companies that discover new drugs, while I play a role in dispensing them!

The Apollo Pharmacy currently in Park Centre will be moving to 11 Park House shortly

As part of the enabling works for Signal Yard (the name for the Park Centre refurbishment), the Apollo Pharmacy will be temporarily relocating to 11 Park House, next to the Milton Park Post Office. Abdi and his team will still offer the same range of services and prescriptions, just in a different location. The move will commence in September, and there will be signage in place to direct to the new location.

The Apollo Pharmacy will be moving from ///rescuer.bookshelf.machine to ///using.topping.handover

More news to follow on Signal Yard over the coming months.

Find out more about Apollo Pharmacy

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Apollo Pharmacy

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