Opening TimesMon: 9am – 12:30pm / 1:30pm – 6:30pm
Tues: 9am – 12:30pm / 1:30pm – 6:30pm
Weds: 9am – 12:30pm / 1:30pm – 6:30pm
Thurs: 9am – 12:30pm / 1:30pm – 6:30pm
Fri: 9am – 12:30pm / 1:30pm – 6:30pm
Sat: 9am – 12:30pm
Inspired by his late father, pharmacist Asghar Khan built a family business to help improve the health and lives of those living in his local community.
Asghar, Managing Director of Medicare Chemists Ltd, and his brother, Afzal, have spent the last 35 years developing the largest independent community pharmacy chain in the Huddersfield area.
Asghar says the brothers’ success story was down to their father, Nawab and mother, Sakina, who came to Britain without any formal qualifications, but with a desire to work and provide new opportunities for their family.
Asghar said: “Our father travelled all over the world as part of the British Army. He was intelligent and ambitious, but in Pakistan, my parents didn’t have the same educational opportunities that they gave us as children. He was the foundation to it all. He wanted us all to have a good education and encouraged us to work within the medical field.”
The Khan Family Legacy
Asghar’s eldest brother, Ashraf, is a semi-retired GP in Bradford and sister, Naheeda, is a pharmacist. Sadly, they lost their brother, Akhtar – an orthopaedic surgeon – to covid19. Subsequent generations are continuing the family tradition as doctors, dentists and pharmacists.
Today, Medicare Chemists Ltd consists of eight branches, including a head office and pharmacy in Lockwood, the Honley branch, as well as those in Holmfirth, Meltham, Marsh, Salendine Nook and Bradley.
Asghar said: “My father was keen to make a difference to our lives and that translates into the work we do today, in that we all want to help other people by making a difference to their wellbeing.”
And it’s not just his local community that Asghar is keen to support. His staff are also an integral part of the family business. One member of staff, who joined the Holmfirth branch before it became Medicare, loyally stayed within the business from the age of 16 until her mid 80s.
From a Single Flu Clinic to a Mass Vaccination Centre
Like his father, Asghar’s desire to improve lives drove him to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
When Medicare first trialled an online booking system for a flu vaccination clinic in the winter of 2019, little did they know that within a matter of months, they would be undertaking a mass vaccination programme for coronavirus.
Asghar said: “We fully trained all the volunteers for that one flu clinic. We vaccinated 200 people in four hours. Everything we did then affected the prototype for future coronavirus clinics.”
At the height of the pandemic, Medicare Chemists Ltd provided 150,000 vaccinations across Kirklees.
Becoming a Chapter in History
It was so successful, that the team was asked to support vaccinations in 30 district Kirklees schools.
“As a team, we delivered above and beyond,” said Asghar. “I can’t emphasise enough the role the volunteers played. It was incredible. I remember saying we have become a chapter in the history of this building (Honley Village Hall).”
Looking to the Future
The community pharmacy kept their doors open throughout the pandemic, dispensing medicines, providing medical advice, reassurance and high levels of customer care.
The experienced chemists continue to support people locally. Anyone starting a new prescription will receive a call from dedicated Medicare staff to answer any concerns they may have and to refer to GPs as appropriate. Other services include emergency contraception and a minor ailments scheme to provide medication if required.
Medicare will soon offer a blood pressure monitoring service and is set to roll out a new Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). The CPCS will allow patients to see their local pharmacist for any minor illnesses or urgent supply of regular medicine.
Asghar said: “Today, pharmacy is more than just dispensing medicine and repeat prescriptions. Very often you will now see pharmacists in dispensing surgeries in primary care networks. We are taking on a more clinical role than ever before.”