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“Most people in Ireland will visit their pharmacist first” – Oonagh O’Hagan

 

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The past two years have shown how important a local pharmacy is to a community, and Oonagh O’Hagan of Meagher’s Pharmacy says the service they provide extends well beyond prescriptions and healthcare services.

Some aspects of a local business are relatively straightforward to measure, from knowing how many customers walk in the door to the number of products they take out with them. How important that business is to the fabric of its local community is less straightforward to put a measure on, and the only effective way to really understand it is to speak with the people running it from day to day.

As Managing Director of Meagher’s Pharmacy Group, Oonagh O’Hagan says that the Covid-19 pandemic saw pharmacies across Ireland step up to the mark. Recently voted as the number one most trusted profession the latest MRBI veracity trust index poll, available here, it’s not something that was lost on the wider Irish public.

“Throughout the pandemic however our skills came to the fore when we remained open for the public, stepped up to the challenge and worked in close collaboration with our GP and hospital colleagues to find new innovative ways to solve our patient’s needs,” Oonagh says.

“As a profession we were so proud to be voted as the number one most trusted professional in Ireland by the Irish public in the last MRBI veracity trust index poll,” she says.

Much of that trust is built on having a strong relationship with customers, something Oonagh says highlights the level of insight a local pharmacy provides.

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“It’s safe to say that we know many of our customers and their families intimately. Very often, we know all about their loved ones and even their pets.

“At Meagher’s many of our customers come to visit us every single day, we might be the only human interaction they have in a day and very often we are the people who spot when something is just not right.

“Most people in Ireland will visit their pharmacist first in their healthcare journey and nine out of 10 times we can find a solution to their needs by recommending an over-the-counter medicine, a vitamin, supplement or skincare product or quite simply a lifestyle change. We can signpost those who need more specialised care and point them in the appropriate direction,” she says.

A key part of the service provided by local pharmacies is to encourage their customers to maintain their overall health and wellbeing by providing their bodies with the nutrients they need. Supplements play a crucial role in monitoring what we take in on a daily basis, but it can be difficult to know which one is right for your specific needs.

All nine Meagher’s Pharmacy outlets across Dublin stock supplements from fellow Irish super supplement brand Revive Active, which was recently named as Ireland’s number one vitamin and dietary supplement. To see the full range of Revive Active supplements, visit the website here.

“There is so much more we can do as healthcare professionals”

While Ireland’s expert-led system allows pharmacies to continue being an invaluable resource to their local communities, Oonagh says there is still untapped potential. When comparing our current system to that of our neighbours in the UK, ways in which it can be improved start to become more apparent.

“There is so much more we can do as healthcare professionals working in every community across Ireland. When we look to our pharmacy colleagues in the UK, they are able to save the NHS over £1 billion each year through the provision of more extended services in their pharmacies.

“The Minor ailments scheme is just one of these services which directs patients to pharmacies instead of hospital A&E ensuring that the public are treated for minor ailments such as bruises and sprains quickly and efficiently.

“These services together with more screening services, if rolled out could take immense pressure of our hospitals and our GPs so that they can deliver the more specialised care to patients,” she says.

Given the vast amount of information available online, misinformation is something that quite often creeps into conversations about health and wellbeing. Navigating that can be somewhat tricky, but Oonagh says it’s important to always listen to trusted sources, and that everyone’s needs are always going to be different.

“There is no one size fits all approach, there is no one solution to all your healthcare concerns. Everyone’s health and wellbeing needs are very different and so the solutions are always very bespoke. Everyone has different health concerns and so your plan must be individual and developed for your needs which will be different to your best friend, sister or brother.

“The biggest misconception is that what works for someone you know or perhaps someone you follow on social media should work for you too, that is simply not the case. Speak to your GP, pharmacist or us here at Meagher’s about what your own health concerns are so you can get the advice appropriate for you.

“I often say your health is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, it’s made up of many parts from your diet, exercise, sleep, stress levels, emotional and your spiritual health. If you can turn the dial on some or all these things just a little and make small incremental changes that are sustainable and you can maintain and build upon, then you can slowly but fundamentally change your health and wellbeing in a very positive way,” she says.

Supporting Irish businesses

Also brought into focus over the past two years has been the need to support local Irish businesses. Similar to how the face-to-face services provided by a pharmacy help build a stronger connection with customers, Oonagh says the benefits of backing Irish brands should not be underestimated.

“As an Irish brand ourselves at Meagher’s Pharmacy we love to champion Irish too, it is so important to us. Firstly, it’s important from an economic point of view, helping to support local communities with employment and reinvest in local Irish business.

“However again it’s much more than that for me. Because Revive Active are local we have gotten to know the team behind the brand, from the founder and creator Daithi O’Connor to the research and development team and the team of trainers and experts. They are accessible and always at hand to support us and our customers and we know exactly where the product is coming from and who is involved in its production.

After years of working together with the Revive Active team I know I can trust them, their formulations and their products. The team are very open to feedback and are constantly trying to better and improve each product in the range which I have experienced first-hand,” she says.

Talk to the experts at Meagher’s Pharmacy, your local pharmacy or health food store today to find out what Revive Active product is the one for you. To see the full range of super supplements, visit the website here.


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