Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Frontline: from industry to GP practice

by Yousaf Aftab

I'm Yousaf Aftab and I wanted to share my experience of helping the NHS.

During these unprecedented times, we as individuals, families and communities face huge challenges. However, the charity volunteers, neighbours, carers, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, porters, delivery drivers and many more that are helping and supporting the NHS are a ray of hope for us all.

I've decided to join this fight, as a clinical pharmacist working in pharmaceutical industry for the last 10 years, I am supporting a small GP practice that has huge demands on dealing with shielding patients who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. As a prescriber I have the ability to assist with any repeat prescriptions which alleviates the pressures on the GPs, allowing them to focus on more acute care.

Despite the anxiety around this crisis, it doesn't seem to dampen the spirits and ability to serve or complete the jobs the staff have been tasked with; saving lives.

The IT systems and connectivity issues that are hitting the whole country are causing daily challenges. We are tasked with setting up isolation rooms for COVID-19 patients, conducting consultations over the phone with the most vulnerable in their homes or nursing homes using zoom, preparing medicines bags for end of life care, providing internal training to staff so they can be ready for the intensity of work ahead.

Alongside this I'm offering my services on a voluntary basis to an INGO called humanity first with whom I work to do disaster relief work. The work that includes educating, helping and assisting people in over 30 countries with hygiene material, sanitizers, food for front line staff, helpline and much more. Volunteering like this is very humbling and the effects are far reaching.

We are in this together and I foresee a happier future with us showing greater empathy, love, affection and respect to everyone in a more tolerant way.

Keep calm and keep safe.


We need your support.


Your dedication and commitment during the pandemic has been exceptional.

As we brace for a surge of coronavirus infections, we know that pharmacy will be at the forefront of delivering healthcare.

Whether it’s flu vaccinations or dealing with local lockdowns we need decisions and assurances from the Government to make sure our profession can cope. We must make sure pharmacists get enough supplies of PPE, rapid access to testing in all care settings, and the recognition you deserve.

You told us that our leadership and resources during in the early months of the pandemic were of critical importance. We are now updating our highly valued COVID-19 resources and training webinars to make sure they reflect current - and changing - guidance.

If the enormous mental and physical strain of the past few months is repeated ahead of this winter, the health service will be on its knees. We will be there to make sure pharmacists get mental health and wellbeing support.

We will continue to work hard to give you the tools and guidance to do your job safely. And fight to make sure you get the recognition you deserve.
We are proud to support you. But without members, none of this will be possible.

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