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The transition from community to PCN clinical pharmacy

PDA member, Osama Madlom is making the change from community to PCN clinical pharmacy and is taking the time to reflect on his 22 years as a community pharmacist. Osama also shares what PDA membership has done for him.

Mon 7th February 2022 The PDA

A reflection on community pharmacy

After nearly 22 years as a community pharmacist working in deprived communities, it’s time for myself to pause and reflect on what has gone on during this time. If there is one thing that I have realised, it’s that pharmacists and pharmacies are integral to the local people that they serve. As more and more services are offered by pharmacists, the value we offer society becomes hard to ignore. Covid-19 did the sector a huge favour in terms of recognition as we were one of the few areas of society deemed ‘essential’ by the state.

Community pharmacies are ideally placed to help ease NHS pressure. In my own pharmacy, we offer flu vaccinations, otoscopy services, and treatment of minor ear infections. Add to this the huge number of consultations we do for concerned customers; I know for a fact that my customers value the services we provide. Most of the time, people just need reassurance, they just need someone to talk to. Pharmacists function as the first port of call in many instances, we see our patients every month and we are the health professional they encounter the most.

Being a PDA member

The PDA is effective in making the case for community pharmacy to the government. The sheer number of PDA members (approx. 32,000), means pharmacists are not easily ignored. Pharmacists all know how isolating pharmacy can be but being a member of the PDA has provided me with peace of mind, as well as a robust support network. Over the past two decades, I have found the PDA’s articles and newsletters to be an invaluable guiding hand throughout my career. It’s almost like being connected to thousands of other pharmacists, with all the collective benefits that come with this. Together we are stronger, and the more of us there are the more we can demonstrate pharmacy’s value, and society will be better for it.

I suspect the growing pressures on the NHS in years to come will force the government’s hand. The move to make all pharmacists prescribers by 2026 is perhaps an admission of this. More and more services may be commissioned, as bit by bit, the contributions pharmacists make to the NHS are slowly being acknowledged. However, this is all well and good provided extra cash is there to support such moves.

My personal journey

The time has come for me to move on from community pharmacy. After 5 years of being qualified as a prescriber and unable to use this skill, I am about to make the move into a PCN clinical pharmacist role. I will dearly miss my customers and the chance to be in such a patient-facing role. However, there are certain things about the job that I will not miss. Sometimes, things just run their course and a new challenge is needed to refresh the mind and strengthen our skill sets.

I look forward to my new role beginning in the next few months. Excitement is mixed with a natural sense of anxiety as I wonder whether I have made the right move after 18 years of working in the same pharmacy. At the same time, I realise that comfort zones shrink the longer we stay in them, it’s the journey over the destination as someone once said. I think there is a lot of truth in that. I feel so lucky to have made such an impact on many people’s lives and to have helped pharmacy students in their own journeys through the profession.

History is made by the brave, doing things in the same old ways is no longer a desirable option. As I begin my new role, I know the PDA will still be there to support me.

By Osama Madlom, clinical pharmacist



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