Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management for both clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Sefton, has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year honours list with an MBE – a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
The honour recognises the Formby resident’s services to pharmacy, including her work responding to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen Susanne and her team providing additional direct support to some of the borough’s most vulnerable patients.
Susanne said: “I couldn’t believe it and I thought it must be a practical joke when I received the official notification. It still hasn’t fully sunk in and I’m simply overwhelmed to have been nominated, let alone to then have been chosen by the Queen to receive an honour in her New Year list.
“Each and every member of my team is completely dedicated and simply fantastic and this honour is a reflection of the work we do every day to improve patient care. Also, none of this would be possible without the support and encouragement at the highest level of the CCGs and, of course, my family, who have been there for me over the years.”
The former Range High School student qualified as a pharmacist in 1998 and started working in primary care in Sefton over 18 years ago. Susanne moved from high street chemists to working for local health commissioners in 2001, becoming the head of medicines management for NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG in 2014.
Fiona Taylor, chief officer of both CCGs in Sefton, said: “We are extremely proud of Susanne and all that she and her team have achieved for Sefton patients and we think this honour couldn’t be more deserved. We particularly thank Susanne and the team for their unstinting work during the coronavirus pandemic, supporting some of our most vulnerable residents, and now working tirelessly to support the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination. This typifies Susanne’s dedication to patient care, so well done indeed.”
During her time with the CCGs, Susanne has overseen the development of some innovative programmes and schemes to increase the quality and safety of prescribing across the local health and care system, improving the lives of patients. Much of this good practice has gained interest from CCGs elsewhere in the country keen to adopt similar approaches and has seen the team named winners in national and regional awards.
At the same time as overseeing such developments, Susanne continues to carry out some clinical work when possible, including medication reviews and, up until 18 months ago, a weekly prescribing clinic seeing patients directly to help them get the most out of their medicines.
Susanne said: “Much of what we do is about building good relationships and we’ve worked hard to better join up the different services providing our patients care, such as hospitals, GP practices, high street pharmacies and community services. There’s always more to do but I’m proud of what we’ve achieved to strengthen the quality of prescribing across the health and care system.
“Alongside the main part of my day job, I think it’s really important to continue my clinical practice supporting individual patients as well as the wider population. I continue to find supporting and talking to patients or community and support groups really rewarding and it helps to keep me in touch with reality. Hearing people’s experiences first hand often help to design some of the wider prescribing initiatives we put in place.”