Andy Evans of JDS Evans Pharmacy, Newport.

Andy Evans is a key player in the Welsh government’s drive to end the growing crisis in the health service. His busy Newport pharmacy is lifting the workload from GPs and hospitals, and his award-winning work to support asthma sufferers is transforming lives. Says Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam Founder, “Andy epitomises the new wave of Alitam pharmacists. Backed by the Welsh government he’s widening the clinical remit of his profession, while using technology to empower his customers and staff. All the while delivering an increasing level of care. He’s a combination of talent, vision and ambition, and a natural member of the Alitam team.”

‘Exciting times for pharmacy’

Andy took the reins from his father back in 1995, but ever since has ensured JDS Evans Pharmacy is resolutely future-focused. “Any time we’re not dispensing, that’s time we can spend with customers,” explains Andy. “The technology of today is immensely useful in that regard, offering a cascade of benefits. Our 24-hour prescription vending machine puts an end to patients queuing in the pharmacy, which is particularly pertinent during this pandemic. It puts an end to wasted journeys to pick up a prescription that’s not ready. Thereby reducing the carbon footprint. And it effectively increases our opening hours to 24 hours. So all of a sudden we’re fitting around our customers’ lives, as opposed to them fitting around us.”

Another cornerstone of his futuristic strategy is implementing a wide array of clinical services, previously only available at the GP or hospital. “The Welsh government recognises that pharmacies are the key to solving the healthcare crisis, so these are exciting times for pharmacy.” There’s the Minor Ailments Clinic, which sees Andy consulting on 24 conditions then prescribing directly where necessary. And the popular Sore Throat Test and Treat service, which offers a rapid turnaround swab test and, again, an antibiotic prescribed and dispensed on site if required. However Andy is most proud and passionate about the life-changing Respiratory Inhaler Service. “For every patient who comes in with a prescription for an inhaler,” he says, “I assess their technique, their level of compliance and their symptom control. There’s a beautiful synergy with our Smoking Cessation Clinic, of course. And it makes a huge difference to people’s lifestyles.”

Indeed, the tracking of patients’ symptoms can reveal serious issues which demand urgent attention, and it can save lives. “At one extreme, we can spot potentially life-threatening issues, or prevent someone reaching crisis point and going to A&E. But on the other end of the spectrum, we can help people stop using inhalers entirely. Poorly controlled asthma is a serious issue that costs the NHS a huge amount of money. It’s just one area where we consistently prove pharmacists are perfectly placed to help reduce GP and A&E visits. And I want to do all I can.”

“The passion within Alitam is amazing”

Andy’s relentless drive is now fuelled further by the group strength of Alitam. “There’s a tremendous sharing of ideas which you don’t get anywhere else. Pharmacy has traditionally been a very competitive environment. So I love the camaraderie of being part of this exceptional group. We’re united in commitment to bettering people’s health through cutting-edge technology and clinical services. The passion is amazing. I speak to fellow Alitam members almost every day because the pool of experience means there’s always someone who can help me progress my latest project. We’re a collective force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. And this is for the greater good of everyone.”

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