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Unsung hero: Community pharmacy delivery driver Jeffrey Simister

Left to right: Gethin Jones, Jeffrey Simister, John Nuttall

After taking voluntary redundancy a few years ago Jeffrey Simister took up a position at Well Pharmacy as a delivery driver. Jeffrey was recently recognised at the first ever Well Pharmacy awards with the overall gold star award. He was kind enough to take some time out to talk to us about his role as a community pharmacy delivery driver.


Where Well Pharmacy branch do you work in?


I work in Oldham, Greater Manchester.


How long have you been a delivery driver?


I started work as a delivery driver in May 2012, so approximately 6 and a half years.


Why did you become a delivery driver?


Having taken voluntary redundancy and early retirement following a 35-year career in local government, I was looking for a role in which I could continue to be of service to the local community. I felt that being able to deliver vital medication to vulnerable people was a perfect fit.


Where did you work on your first day as a delivery driver and when was that? 


On my first day as a delivery driver back in May 2012, I was training for the role and that was at the Stalybridge, Grosvenor Street branch of Well Pharmacy.


What does your current role involve?


Whilst my job title is ‘delivery driver’, my current role has evolved following a successful pilot in our region. I now liaise with 14 branches to ensure that they receive prescriptions in a timely manner by collecting them from potentially over 50 GP surgeries. This approach has freed-up a significant amount of time and reduced mileage for the individual branch delivery drivers who can now concentrate solely on delivering vital medication to our customers.


Is your role challenging and why?


Yes, the role can be challenging in all sorts of ways from being stuck in traffic to dealing with people who are not as helpful as they possibly could be! However, by having a flexible approach and a patient and positive attitude, there is always a way to get the job done.


In your view, what makes an excellent delivery driver?


An excellent delivery driver should be sympathetic to people’s needs and circumstances, be willing to get the job done no matter what the obstacles, and have a cheerful disposition. They should also have a great deal of patience.


What do you love about your job?


The main aspect of my job that I love is the satisfaction I get from knowing that in some small way, myself and all my pharmacy team colleagues have helped our customers in our local community get the medication they need. A small but vital cog.


Are there any aspects you dislike?


Yes. Traffic queues, road works, bad weather and unhelpful people.


What one factor would help you do your job better?


No job is perfect and it is very difficult to pinpoint any one factor. I suppose that if pushed I would like some individual GP surgeries to be less insular and more understanding of the impact that some of their restrictive policies and practices have on their customers, in particular pharmacies. We are, after all is said and done, working to the same end.


Can you tell us about the award you won recently?


The tragic circumstance with which I was faced had a profound effect on me. This fact notwithstanding, I was humbled to be awarded a gold star.  But to then go on and be winner of the ‘overall gold star of the year 2018’ category was simply unbelievable!  I am honoured to have been voted for by such a large number of my colleagues, grateful to my line manager for his nomination and to Well, together with its suppliers, for hosting such a wonderful event.  I would also like to mention the other 15 gold star winners who, when thrust into difficult situations, went above and beyond their normal duties, acted swiftly and decisively for those in difficulty. They are all well-deserving winners!”


What’s next for you?


Where can one go after having won such an accolade? At the risk of sounding unambitious, I think that the status quo is for me, working for the benefit of my local community.


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