Pharmacist Dr Mahendra Patel, a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and member of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, has been given the Charter Award by the Society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the profession. The Charter Award is made annually by the Society on the recommendation of its President.
Dr Patel became a pharmacist in 1981. He is Principal Enterprise Fellow in Pharmacy at the University of Huddersfield, and Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sheffield. He was also one of the first Fellows to be appointed to NICE, (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) and pioneered the development of the NICE Student Champions Scheme which develops the health professionals of the future to be ambassadors for NICE, a project which has spread to nearly 40 universities. The RPS Student Champion Scheme is based on this model.
His voluntary and fundraising work spans almost most two decades locally, regionally, nationally, and includes being a governor at Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and helping to establish the fundraising branch of the British Heart Foundation in Wakefield and district. Only recently he was awarded the British Heart Foundation’s Regional Community Volunteer of the Year Award.
He has long championed the work of the South Asian Health Foundation, a charity which promotes improvements in healthcare in the UK's South Asian communities. He has given talks and provided health checks to communities both locally and all over the country to raise awareness of the risks of their higher than average rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Dr Patel has established an annual student exchange programme with the University of Huddersfield and Wilkes University, Pennsylvania USA in his role as Visiting Professor at the Wilkes College of Pharmacy. This provides opportunities for Huddersfield students to widen their horizons and develop experience of different types of pharmacy practice.
Dr Patel is also a founding member of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, a charity providing information, advice and support to those with mouth, throat and other head and neck cancers to cope with their illness and to encourage early detection of these diseases.
President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Martin Astbury said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to give the Charter Award to Mahendra Patel in recognition of all he has achieved for pharmacy through his enormous drive, energy and enthusiasm.
“His dedication and commitment are second to none and he has been an outstanding advocate for pharmacists and the RPS. Through his fundraising and charity work he’s supported a host of good causes and he’s made an important contribution to improving the health of the South Asian population.”
Professor David Haslam, Chair, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, said: “It has been an honour to have worked with Mahendra Patel for the past eight years. Over this time I have been hugely impressed with his work on NICE’s Accreditation Committee, and as the first NICE Fellow to come from a Pharmacy Background. He has led the way in inspiring many through NICE’s Student Champions Programme, and helping to develop the NICE Medicines Adherence Clinical Guideline. I am delighted his skill, energy, and passion for quality is being recognised by this Charter Award.”
Mahendra Patel said: “I’m delighted to receive this award. I believe passionately in the very real benefits that pharmacists can deliver to the local community, and I’m proud that I’ve been able to help influence and shape the experience of patients and pharmacists. Helping and supporting young people and students to fulfil their potential as health professionals is especially important as they discover their path in life and benefit communities of the future.”