Lindsay & Gilmour is one of Scotland’s oldest independent pharmacy groups and has been providing pharmacy services for over 200 years.
The original Lindsay & Gilmour was established by Robert Lindsay and has been trading from the same site in Elm Row, Edinburgh, since 1826.Today, there are 30 Lindsay & Gilmour pharmacies spread across East and Central Scotland and the Borders and Fife.
As well as prescription, dispensing and a wide retail offering of medicines and other health related products, Lindsay & Gilmour provides many private health services from their community based pharmacies. These include free minor ailments service, chronic medication service, travel health advice, flu vaccination, sore throat testing and ostomy supply and advice, amongst many others.
But providing NHS and private services is not the only thing that Lindsay & Gilmour pharmacies are doing to care for their surrounding community.
Through the ground-breaking complete re-design, staff training programme and community engagement undertaken at their Hawick pharmacy in the semi-rural Scottish Borders, Lindsay & Gilmour have established themselves as a leader in the way of providing a safe and welcoming pharmacy environment for people living with dementia and those who care for them.
The Hawick branch is the first in the group to become completely dementia friendly, with the idea that all of the Lindsay & Gilmour pharmacies will be dementia friendly in the future.
Maxine Galt has worked in pharmacy for over 26 years and was appointed Business Development Manager at Lindsay & Gilmour 3 and a half years ago. Explaining the broad remit of her role at Lindsay & Gilmour, Maxine says, “My role is to focus on finding and developing opportunities to expand the business. This includes service development, growing the retail offering, assisting with employee training and recruitment. One of the projects I particularly enjoy leading is the refit of the pharmacies. During the refit of our branch in Hawick, I was lucky enough to work with the architect to draw plans together, ensuring that the design of the premises was dementia friendly, as well as working with the pharmacy teams to get their input.”
Maxine explains that they have been doing a lot of work with Alzheimer’s Scotland, whether that be fundraising or raising awareness of what it means to care for someone living with dementia. The pharmacy teams have also been trained to identify the signs of dementia.
“We have an ageing demographic in our pharmacy communities, we are aware that these patients are being isolated as they cannot get out because certain places are not adapted to their needs. I have worked with a lot of organisations regarding dementia and I have learnt a lot about how we can keep people mobile and out in the community whilst living with dementia, and that is what gave me the idea to look at what we can do to adapt our pharmacies to make them accessible for people living with dementia and their carers.”
Maxine says that whilst working on the Hawick refit, she used the Alzheimer’s Society publication, which has a guide on becoming a dementia friendly retailer, when considering what a retailer should be looking at in order to become a dementia friendly environment. This explains how to navigate the store, not only with signposting and images, but the colours and textures of the floor and chairs, and making sure the chairs had handles and are a contrast colour to the floor so that patients could see them clearly and not feel anxious.
She also says that the icing on the cake for her was when Anne McWhinnie from Alzheimer’s Scotland came to approve the premises and was delighted with what Maxine and the architect had learnt and how they had implemented it.
Maxine explains that the response from the public regarding the refit has been enlightening, and that a former pharmacist at Lindsay & Gilmour who has dementia, came in to the Hawick branch to look at the premise and was amazed to see how it had transformed. He was impressed to see how a modern day pharmacy environment can accommodate people living with dementia, how easy it would be for him to come and collect his prescription and how comfortable he would feel doing that.
Maxine highlights that product allocation is also a key factor when making a pharmacy dementia friendly and that they always use the Numark planograms to help them with their space allocation.
“Regarding retail, we know that people tend to think of pharmacy as a convenience store, where they would pick up things that they had forgotten and do so whilst collecting their prescription. Therefore we have streamlined our core range to pharmacy specific products and the Numark planograms have helped us achieve this. Bearing an older demographic in mind, we ensure that we have what they would expect to see on the shelves, such as the traditional remedies and key products that can help people familiarise themselves with the retail experience. It is those little triggers that can help our patients navigate around stores to ensure they can find what they are looking for.”
As well as the store being dementia friendly, Maxine also mentions that they have had positive feedback from patients about the staff, and how they feel at ease knowing they are fully trained and understand dementia.
“All of our pharmacy staff have access to the Numark+ Training platform, and all of them have completed the modules available on dementia, including our delivery drivers. As we have drivers delivering prescriptions, they deliver to patients living with dementia, so we have ensured that they have had the training as well. It is very important that they are able to spot the signs. Although they may not be able to do too much being in the person’s home, they can at least report back to the pharmacist that they have noticed changes in the patient’s behaviour, and that perhaps the pharmacist can contact the patient’s carer.”
Although the Hawick branch is fully refitted to be adapted for dementia patients, Lindsay & Gilmour have a refit plan so that each of their branches will be dementia friendly in the future. Where it is not possible to structurally change some of the pharmacies, they are constantly looking at what they can adapt and change to make the pharmacies dementia friendly.