Minister for Health Opens State-of-the-Art Pharmacy Facility at Trinity

Posted on: 15 June 2010

A state-of-the-art teaching facility which will provide training to the highest standard for Ireland’s pharmacists of the future was officially opened by the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, (June 14th) at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College Dublin.  It is a collaborative initiative between Trinity and Boots Ireland, with the support of Helix Health.

The new facility, the ‘Boots Practice of Pharmacy Teaching and Development Unit’, includes a range of modern facilities aimed to equip pharmacy students with the necessary skills to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. Stand-alone teaching stations will help students become familiar with the more traditional tasks of dispensing and administration, while separate areas have been designed to provide training in advanced pharmacy services.

Head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prof Marek Radomski,  Boots Ireland Chief Pharmacist Mary Rose Burke, Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, Helix Health CEO, Howard Beggs, Managing Director of Boots Ireland, Debbie Smith and TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty.

Professor Marek Radomski, Head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences explained: “The facility is intended to be the most advanced in Ireland and allow Trinity to provide the highest standard of professional and research training to pharmacists of the future. Over the past years our School has greatly benefited from a strong partnership with Boots* and we are very pleased to now also have Helix Health as one of our strategic partners. The project highlights the importance of university-industry relationships for the benefit of third level education and research in Ireland.”

Commenting on its significance, the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney said: “The professional education and training of pharmacists and the conduct of pharmacy practice research will be of world class standard in this modern facility at Trinity College.  Through the use of state-of-the-art educational and pharmacy technology, pharmacists will be trained in new and innovative ways, ensuring that patients in our healthcare system benefit from the highest standards of pharmacy care and practice.”

The Unit also features a model pharmacy which reflects a modern Boots pharmacy allowing students to experience at first hand a real life pharmacy situation and a realistic setting for the teaching of pharmacists-patient communications. This area will be observed both directly and through video technology from an adjacent communication skills training suite.  The Unit will also incorporate technology and facilities to support both interactive training on-site and the further development of e-learning opportunities.

Speaking at the official opening of the Unit, Mary Rose Burke, chief pharmacist with Boots, said: “This is an extremely significant investment for Boots and reflects our firm commitment to our role in ensuring that the pharmacists of the future are equipped with the skills to fully embrace all the opportunities to better deliver on Primary Care.  We are delighted to partner with Trinity on such a progressive and modern facility and wish all current and future students success in their training.”

Leading Irish healthcare technology company, Helix Health, has provided the complete dispensing IT requirements for the laboratory including 40 independent pharmacy systems with specialist infrastructure and a pharmacy robot. This will enable students to learn about dispensing, drug interactions and pharmacy management practices using the best available technology. Helix Health will continue to update and maintain the systems for the next three years ensuring that the systems in use by the student population reflect accurately the market changes including the latest drug updates and information on drug interactions.

“Helix Health believes strongly in the importance of investment in education and ensuring that students have access to the very best of pharmacy technology. These, and future students will be learning in the most representative setting to that of an operating pharmacy, and that will be an invaluable experience,” said Chief Executive of Helix Health, Howard Beggs.