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.

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