TWO Wirral pharmacy staff have been honoured for helping to bridge health inequalities and language barriers when a group of Syrian refugees arrived in their community.

Ruth Kenton and Sally Hughes - who both work at Rowlands Pharmacy in Wallasey - were joint winners of the Health Equality Award.

The honours are presented by pharmacy trade magazine Training Matters to key healthcare workers for outstanding achievements in the world of community pharmacy.

Between them, pharmacy technician, Ruth and pharmacy manager Sally have 26 years of experience working at Rowlands Pharmacy in Wallasey and their recent support to Syrian refugees named them joint winners of the Health Equality Award.

This was a brand-new category for 2022 and is designed to recognise an individual who has identified and tackled health inequalities for their patients and communities.

When 31 Syrian refugees were moved into the community Sally and Ruth went out of their way to make them feel welcome, bridging language barriers using Google translate on their phones and getting the group the support they needed.

For example, when a young man came into the pharmacy clearly in pain, Ruth worked out he was suffering with toothache.

She said: "I have a really good dentist, so I rang him and asked if there was any chance he could fit this boy in as an emergency and he did, which was amazing. I just felt for him.

"He was in pain with no family around and he can’t speak the native language, it must be so difficult for them.

"When he got to the dentist his tooth was so badly infected, he had to have it removed, a problem that could have lasted weeks without this intervention."

It's been seven months since the refugees moved in across the road, and thankfully, both Sally and Ruth have noticed a big change in how they are perceived.

Sally said: "They’re really becoming part of the community now and it's nice that the pharmacy was a place that welcomed them from the start."

Commenting on the RoE Awards, editor of Training Matters and awards host Monica West said: "The Recognition of Excellence Awards is the only UK awards that celebrates hard working pharmacy staff, without the focus being on pharmacists.

"We think it is so important to reward the people who are fundamentally often the backbones of pharmacy teams. These individuals go above and beyond every single day, putting their communities before themselves.

"We think that's certainly something to shout about."