TEAMWORK: The team from the Bowen LiveLife Pharmacy who have been made a finalist in a national award.
TEAMWORK: The team from the Bowen LiveLife Pharmacy who have been made a finalist in a national award. Supplied

The amazing story behind this Bowen business award finalist

A BOWEN pharmacy has proven that through the greatest challenges some of the best relationships are formed after being nominated for a national award.

LiveLife Pharmacy Bowen has been announced as a finalist in The Pharmacy Guild of Australia's 2020 Pharmacy of the Year competition.

It is no small feat from the small-town location, being one of five pharmacies in the running for the award that has a potential pool of over 5700 businesses.

It hasn't always been smooth sailing for the pharmacy though, who experienced a level of hesitancy in the region when the existing pharmacy became part of the LiveLife group in 2016.

"Bowen has a very strong and proud community and when LiveLife purchased the pharmacy in 2016, some locals were cautious of the business changes," LiveLife Bowen Pharmacist Wally Maguire said

"They were used to the old pharmacy which had been here for 30 or so years and quite understandably were a bit suspicious of the changes we made. It was quite difficult for us at first."

Mr Maguire said that all changed after Cyclone Debbie which devastated the region in 2017.

He said that they understood the pharmacy was likely to be an important centre for the community after the cyclone and opened the next day.

"We had no power, no water and the roof was leaking everywhere but we started operating and making sure the community had their medicines and that the hospital also was looked after," he said.

"..we opened everyday. We showed the community that we were one of them and demonstrated what we could offer.

"Bowen is very supportive of employment opportunities and growth in local businesses and we have been embraced."

Mr Maguire said the pharmacy had grown to become a local area health hub and offered patients a unique customer experience.

EXPANDING: Bowen LiveLife Pharmacy has expanded to offer private consultations.
EXPANDING: Bowen LiveLife Pharmacy has expanded to offer private consultations. Supplied

In the past residents often had a five-hour round trip to Mackay or Townsville to access specific professional services, however, the pharmacy had attempted to keep those services accessible in Bowen.

"We set up so that patients could come in and quickly be able to talk to the pharmacists individually about their issues or concerns and walk out having achieved optimal care for their health," Mr Maguire said.

"We wanted our community to be able to access all the pharmacy services they needed on their own doorstep."

A spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said that the Bowen location had stood out due to its high level of engagement with the local community.

"The fact the local mayor called in while our team was at the pharmacy doing a photoshoot for the competition was just one indication of how well the pharmacy is regarded," the spokesman said.


"The other factor was innovation and commitment to broadening the range of professional services available through the pharmacy, including through such beneficial services as their sleep apnoea clinic."

The winner of the award will be announced at an event held on the Gold Coast on March 19-22 2020.


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