NPA members tell us about their life and times in community pharmacy, as part of the Association’s centenary celebrations.
Lindsay & Gilmour are one of the oldest pharmacies in Scotland and have been NPA members for nearly half a century.
Originally established by Robert Lindsay in 1826 it has been trading from the same site, in Elm Row, Edinburgh ever since.
Today there are over 31 Lindsay & Gilmour pharmacies spread across East and Central Scotland, the Borders and Fife, which offer a full range of pharmacy services.
Phil Galt, its Managing Director and Superintendent Pharmacist, joined the business in 2014 and says he feels proud of being part of a pioneering organisation.
“It is great that we are still a family owned organisation, fourth generation now, after all these years. Our ethos is very much about putting people at the heart of everything we do. Anything that I or the team do is all about making it a better place to work for our colleagues and accommodating to our customers. It’s a simple strategy - look after your staff and they'll look after your business and customers.”
Though the group is one of the oldest, it also currently one of the most contemporary pharmacy groups in the country, explains Phil.
“We're really fortunate to have been around a long time. But what I’m keen on making people aware of is, 'yes we've got a proud heritage’, however we are a modern, forward thinking innovative healthcare business. I don't want people to be misled by the idea that we're old and doddery. We are innovative and we're always pushing forward.”
Over the years Lindsay & Gilmour have sought to embrace new ways of working with technology, using robots and kiosks in its pharmacies and electronic CD registers.
“We were started using the Pharmsmart platform when it was in its infancy and even Pro Delivery Manager before it was acquired by NPA. As very early adopters we've been instrumental in helping to shape a lot of these technologies. We're a decent size, which means the feedback we gave them helped to make the products better.”
During the very early onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Phil implemented video calling in Lindsay & Gilmour.
“Right at the beginning of the pandemic we were rolling out Microsoft Teams across the whole company. I was trying to get our colleagues to use teams and video calling before Covid but we had some resistance and adoption was slow. Now we have all our communications going through this. We had to adapt as things were changing on an hour to hour basis and it proved incredibly helpful.”
One thing Phil really values is the advice and support he gets from the NPA and the Scotland Country Manager Janice Oman.
“Having someone like that who is plugged in to all the different bodies and organisations in Scotland is very useful for us. The level of support and advice Janice gives me is really useful.”
Phil also points out NPA Insurance as another tangible benefit of being an NPA member.
“It's without a doubt the standout insurance provider for pharmacy owners. They've been around a long time. For me as a superintendent having the reassurance of a gold plated professional indemnity insurance behind me to support and protect our pharmacists is crucial.”
Phil believes Lindsay & Gilmour have always been a vital part of its local communities but now that statement rings truer than ever before.
“I believe pharmacy has weathered the Covid storm better than anybody and I think they are the forgotten heroes,” he says.
"It’s been extremely challenging for our staff on the frontline but I’m so proud of them and absolutely delighted at the way they've coped and responded because it’s been really tough and relentless.
“The patients we serve have been incredibly thankful for what we've done and I think we've reinforced our place in the heart of our community.
Phil adds: “We are local to the communities we serve. Our staff live and work in those communities. They know patients, have a relationship with them and that’s quite a powerful thing.”
Want to tell your own story, as part of the NPA’s centenary celebrations? Contact [email protected]