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Working as a GP Practice Pharmacist

In our latest member voice article, GP Practice Pharmacist, Shurti Patel shares her career journey and why GP pharmacy is currently one of the fastest-growing pharmacy sectors in the UK. Shurti also explains how through her role as a PDA Regional Rep she is able to make a difference.

Wed 10th November 2021 The PDA

Early years

My career journey started at 16 when I completed two weeks’ work experience as a sales assistant in a community pharmacy. I was intrigued by all the different types of medication and the vast knowledge pharmacists have. I have always been interested in the sciences and enthusiastic about helping people. My early experiences allowed me to see how I could benefit people’s lives in the future and formed the basis of me wanting to become a pharmacist.

I studied pharmacy at the University of Reading and had an amazing experience there. My favourite module was ‘Delivering Pharmacy Services’, which I use in my current practice. The module gave me a good understanding of pharmacy laws and ethics as well as professional behaviour.

Becoming a GP pharmacist

I started my pharmacy career in community but wanted to use my clinical knowledge and skills further, therefore, I decided to join the GP pharmacy sector. I enjoy my job as a GP pharmacist as I can utilise my expertise and knowledge, as well as learn new things every day whilst working in a multidisciplinary team with doctors and nurses. I love that each day is different, as I carry out a range of roles and responsibilities.

My typical day includes clinics for diabetes, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease and other long-term conditions. I also carry out medication reviews such as Structured Medication Reviews (SMRs) for care home patients. I action outpatient clinic letters and discharge summaries from hospitals as well as do the high-risk drug monitoring every month. I have also been helping administer Covid-19 vaccinations during the pandemic at a local surgery in the PCN I work in. I enjoy seeing the direct benefits that I can make to patients’ lives, such as helping control their blood pressure and bringing down sugar levels using medication and lifestyle measures. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to make life-changing decisions for patients and give advice that can potentially save a life.

The importance of GP pharmacists to the pharmacy sector

I feel that GP pharmacists have been a great addition to the GP practice team. It is currently one of the fastest-growing pharmacy sectors in the UK, and doctors can see the positive and valuable impact we have made. As part of my daily roles and responsibilities, I support doctors, nurses, administrative staff and patients. I help with medication queries that involve suggesting alternatives, answering questions about side effects and interactions, medicines optimisation and reconciliation. My surgery has provided positive feedback on the impact I have made. I believe the addition of the GP pharmacist role allows doctors to focus on patients who need acute complex medical care, as pharmacists can manage a lot of the long-term condition care that patients need. GP pharmacists are also able to ensure that the prescribing in the practice is safe and cost-effective.

Working as a PDA Rep

I have always been passionate about providing outstanding healthcare to my patients and supporting fellow colleagues, especially pharmacists in their journeys. I believe being a PDA Representative on the South East Regional Committee gives me the opportunity to make a positive difference to fellow pharmacists, which is something that’s important to me. I have been working as a GP practice pharmacist for over two years now, and this experience includes working for a private company going into different practices, working as a practice-based pharmacist and now also as a PCN pharmacist. Therefore, I feel that I can relate to and understand the challenges faced in the primary care sector. I believe the PDA cares about pharmacists, and I am proud to have the opportunity to make a difference and support the sector through this role and platform.

By Shurti Patel, Clinical Pharmacist in GP Practice and PDA South East Regional Committee Rep

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