Catching up with Alitam member Lee Browne.
Lee Browne, owner of Camella Healthcare, a thriving group of five pharmacies in North Wales, is treasured not just by his local communities, but by his dedicated team of 50 staff. His passion for pushing boundaries means his team enjoy stimulating careers at the vanguard of the Welsh government’s drive to upgrade the country’s pharmacy offering, thereby relieving pressure on GPs and hospitals. Since joining Alitam, Lee and his team are gathering momentum through the support of the expert management team, exchange of ideas with other members and the unity of vision to be the ‘Pharmacy of the Future’.
To date, Lee has forged close links with his local GP practices, showcasing to the Welsh government just how impactful this relationship can be. “We’re blending the lines between GP surgery and pharmacy,” he explains. “I’ve upgraded our stores to resemble traditional clinical settings, in which we offer vital healthcare services such as weight loss and stop smoking clinics. The Minor Ailment service is a runaway success, with GPs thanking me for cutting their workload. We’re taking things even further by training as Independent Prescribers, which will increase our remit to diagnose and prescribe. There’s so much fertile ground for innovation at the moment, for changing the old ways which are no longer working. Now, with Alitam, we can really go for it.”
A force to be reckoned with
Implementing the latest technology is something Lee talks about with verve. “Technology is an enabler, and for us this means the ability to spend more time attending carefully to customers. We’re already using software to enhance the efficiency of our busy delivery service, so we can deliver more items each day. But, as part of Alitam, I’ll be using technology to completely transform our practice. We’re excited about implementing a texting service, to alert customers that their medicine is ready; and I’m really keen to have a 24 hour dispensing machine, as other members are proving how business-critical this can be. Not to mention a really busy online and offline retail arm, stocked with Alitam branded products our customers can trust.”
Lee is also raring to go with a professionally-created marketing programme. “I don’t have the knowledge to advertise my services properly,” he says. “Alitam has experts in this field and, when the communications roll out, it will trigger a huge uplift in business,” he smiles. Another matter close to his heart is the motivation of staff. “I want to draw in the most talented people, seeking to really grow and challenge themselves with exciting careers. As a smaller player, I can only offer so much. Meanwhile the big players have completely taken their eye off the ball in this regard, they’re shedding staff. So Alitam will be exploiting this opportunity too: by offering leading-edge pharmacy careers, Alitam will be the destination for the industry’s most exciting talent. And this will make us a force to be reckoned with for decades to come.”
‘An example of what’s possible for pharmacy’
“The power of a group is really attractive,” says Lee. “For me it’s all about collaboration, throwing out different ideas, thinking outside the box. With Alitam this is taken to the next level: there’s such immense talent here, and a progressive mindset which gives us unstoppable energy. There’s nothing we can’t achieve.”
Says Feisal Nahaboo, founder of Alitam, “Lee is a force to be reckoned with. It takes great business sense, professional skill and ambition to lead the way. He can rightfully boast an extremely loyal and highly skilled staff; a testament to the care he takes to continually challenge them as he moves the pharmacy forward. And now he’s energising all of the Alitam members with his example of what’s possible for pharmacy. It’s a privilege to have him on board.”