Taking the outback by storm
Hannah Mann always thought her career path was laid out for her. Finish her degree in hospital pharmacy, find a job in inner city Perth and live out her ambition of providing medicine to those who require it. That was until she headed north on a work placement trip to the coastal town of Broome.
Within two weeks, Hannah decided she had found her calling to help people who truly needed it and with that, packed up her life in Perth and settled into the rural Kimberley region of Western Australia - playing the crucial role of a community pharmacist specialising in Aboriginal health.
Fast-forward almost a decade and Hannah is now a director of ANZ customer, Kimberly Pharmacy Services. With outlets in Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and Kununurra, Hannah and her staff provide medication and education to patients and health professionals across more than 20 remote communities.
While Hannah’s passion is a crucial element to the success of her business, her model is centered on engagement with patients and clinics to help understand the demands of all those involved.
“It really is the community engagement model of business around uncovering the need, understanding the barriers for people living in remote areas and getting personal input from patients, doctors and health workers,” Hannah says. “And considering - what would a pharmacy designed specifically for your community look like?”
A personalised approach
This enables pharmacies under the umbrella of Kimberley Pharmacy Services to be tailored to specific communities, allowing each individual service to respond directly to the grass roots issues affecting the people in their area.
As a result, information on medicine, nutrition and wellness can be dispersed to rural locations alongside specific medication - providing isolated communities with access to health services previously unattainable.
Despite facing a multitude of challenges around the safe delivery of mainstream medicine to remote areas, Hannah’s determination to get it right is symbolic of the success of her business.
For rural communities, Hannah says if healthcare isn’t delivered well, it can have a domino effect on the whole community. “If we can’t get medications to patients in a safe manner, that are correct and patients can understand and take, what’s the point?”
Source: Pharmacy Guild Australia
The future of remote health
Richard Grayson, ANZ Head of Health Australia believes Pharmacy is a critical part of Australia’s health industry, as the nation’s 5,000 plus pharmacies are the distribution network for prescription and scheduled medicines.
Richard says “With an ageing population and three in every five Australians suffering from two or more chronic conditions, pharmacies remain an important part of our health infrastructure across the country”.
He adds “This is especially the case in rural areas where having a pharmacy close by can at least partly lessen the burden for consumers who often otherwise have to travel greater distances for care services”.
A shift within the medicinal industry is seeing younger generations having more autonomy over the delivery and timing of medicine which Hannah says emphasises the importance of the relationship patients have with clinic staff in rural areas.
“Providing patients with consistent and accurate information regarding medicine begins with the appropriate support of healthcare workers – something I am proud we’re part of.” she says.
Compared to when Hannah first started out, more and more pharmacists are being recognised as a crucial part of the healthcare team – something that Hannah hopes will continue to change over the next decade to further improve accessibility to healthcare services in remote locations.
Hannah’s work has seen her recognised recently with the top gong at the Business News 40under40 Awards, being named First Among Equals, and the winner of the top small business category.
ANZ has a long history of banking pharmacies and, as part of supporting health communities, is committed to supporting the industry in rural areas.