Regional chief pharmacist and controlled drug accountable officer for the North West region, Karen O’Brien has received an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Order) in the New Year Honours list.

Karen received the prestigious accolade for services to pharmacy and patient safety, particularly during the Covid-19 response.

In the last year Karen has worked with pharmacy leaders across the North West to make sure patients continued to receive the medication they needed, despite the impact of the pandemic.

Reacting to the news Karen said:

“It’s rare for a pharmacist to receive such a prestigious honour. So, I would like to dedicate my MBE to all the pharmacists and their teams across the North West, and England, who work tirelessly to ensure patients receive their medicines, even during these trying times.

“My passion is pharmacy and being part of the NHS family has been a privilege. I have learnt so much during my career and made countless friends. To anyone considering a career in pharmacy I would say, ‘it can be challenging, it can be hard work, but it is an incredibly rewarding profession full of opportunity.’

“This MBE is also for my wonderful husband of 42 years, my son and his family, my grandson, my wonderful mum, sisters and brothers and all my extended family. They have all supported me over the years during both my highs and lows.

“Finally, a very special mention to Mr Mel Wood – my mentor and the first community pharmacist I worked for. He taught me everything I know.”

Karen has worked in pharmacy since the age of 15 and worked in Greater Manchester for 22 years.

She has been Controlled Drug Accountable Officer for Greater Manchester since 2013 and Regional Chief Pharmacist for the North West Region since April 2020.

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