Pharmacy industry honours for Sarah Hazell, Michael Flannery

Forbes pharmacist Sarah Hazell has been named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's NSW Pharmacist of the Year, and long-time Forbes pharmacist Michael Flannery honoured with the lifetime achievement.

The two were honoured at the Annual Celebration of Excellence in Pharmacy, hosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

Sarah (nee Miller) began her career here in her university holidays, working at Flannery's under Michael's mentoring as she studied at CSU in Wagga Wagga.

It's considered pretty unique that she's stayed with the one job throughout her career, Mrs Hazell wouldn't have it any other way.

Sarah Hazell and Michael Flannery have been honoured by their industry.

Sarah Hazell and Michael Flannery have been honoured by their industry.

She worked as pharmacist in charge at Winstanley's in early years and became a business partner in Flannery's and Life Pharmacy in 2007.

"I still feel so blessed I've been given the most wonderful opportunities here in Forbes," she said.

"I absolutely love being pharmacist," Mrs Hazell said.

"It's lovely working in a rural community like Forbes because you get lots of lovely feedback ... and that helps you treat other patients.

"We have to stay on top of our game because it is ever-changing. That's also what makes it challenging and fun."

Mrs Hazell is just as passionate about her role as a pharmacist, which she balances with her young family, as ever.

"Whenever we are making decisions for the pharmacy we stop and think, what does the community in Forbes need - what are the healthcare needs?" Mrs Hazell said.

"We realised with the shortage of doctors we have that we need to provide a professional service - hence the four clinic rooms and also developing the health hub, having visiting health professionals come - podiatrist, audiometrist, diabetes educator.

"We are looking to provide Forbes with the very best pharmacy service that we can."

The scope has changed quite a bit in the past few years with legislative changes opening the way for pharmacies to provide vaccines, first influenza but now vaccines from age 10.

"From what we have seen in the past five years that's only going to increase, the government has seen that there's a wealth of knowledge in pharmacy that helps to relieve strain on services, on surgeries," Mrs Hazell said.

Their work was also acknowledged with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Pharmacy of the Year Award.

Mrs Hazell was nominated for the individual award by former and current colleagues - and it came as the best sort of surprise.

"I acknowledge the teams here in Forbes and the Life Pharmacy group as well - Michael has been the most wonderful mentor to me," she said.

"I definitely wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have without Michael's support and guidance, and each and every one of the team members that I work with here is absolutely wonderful. I've learned so much from all of them.

"The Forbes community has just been wonderful to me, it's a great place to bring up our three children, my husband has got a business in Forbes as well."

Professor Peter Carroll from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia congratulated Ms Hazell for her continued commitment in providing positive health outcomes to the local community.

"Sarah has a great understanding of the Forbes local community and has shown a real focus on developing not just pharmacists' career progressions but also pharmacy assistants, nurses and dispensary technicians," he said.

"Among many of her achievements, Sarah has enhanced indigenous health by initiating a QUMAX agreement with local medical centres, also developing a health hub with health professionals utilising clinic rooms such as Podiatrists, a Registered Nurse, an Audiometrist and Physiotherapists.

"Sarah is a leader in her community and a mentor to young pharmacists and is a well-deserved winner of this award."

Mr Flannery's life achievement award was presented on the same night.

"Michael is the perfect example of the community pharmacist and has shown terrific passion and dedication to the pharmacy profession over many years," Prof Carroll said.

"Managing Director and founder of Instigo, Michael is also the founder of Pharmacy Catalyst and CEO of Life Pharmacy Group that has numerous examples of partners who Michael has mentored and supported from school student, through cadetship, to intern to Pharmacist and through to owner.

"Michael has also represented the pharmacy industry nationally and internationally as well as sitting on a number of committees and working groups."