By Shasta Chimhau, Medicines Optimisation Technician
I started my pharmacy career in community pharmacy, where I qualified as a Pharmacy Technician and then went on to work in hospital pharmacy. In 2016 I joined the local CCG’s Care Homes team as the first Pharmacy Technician in the team. I was involved in developing a medication standards audit tool for systems and processes review in care homes which focused on reducing medicines waste and implementing best practice guidance in care homes.
What a Pharmacy Technician working in Medicines Optimisation does
I currently work in the Medicines Optimisation Team at the newly formed local ICB supporting with General Practice work. I provide advice, guidance, recommendations, and any necessary training on medicines-related issues to GP practice staff and to provider organisation staff. I have been supporting with the roll-out of the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS) in General Practice and supporting practices to implement NHSE guidance to reduce the prescribing of over-the-counter items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care. My work also includes supporting with the local prescribing formulary and medicine budgets, data collection and analysis as well as contract review and monitoring.
Taking on further responsibility during the pandemic
A big part of my current role was shaped by the pandemic. My team was re-deployed to a newly formed ward in the community to support with medicines management in order to ease pressures on secondary care. Following this our team was then deployed to remotely support a Covid-19 discharge ward. Looking back, it was remarkable how the wards were set-up at such short notice, the different systems that came together to make this work and how we all adapted.
I worked on the NHSE initiative during the pandemic to support GP practices with switching suitable patients to eRD. During this project I met with GP practices, clinically screened patients for suitability, converted patients to eRD and contacted patients. It was a great learning process and my advice to anyone in the pharmacy profession who is looking to get into primary care would be to take any opportunities that come your way. Even if the work is slightly outside of your normal remit, take on the challenge to further your skills and knowledge.
Pharmacy technicians in primary care
I jointly lead the ICB’s PCN Pharmacy Technician Network and I am committed to championing for the role of Pharmacy Technicians in Primary Care. As a member of the RPS Primary Care Expert Advisory Group I feed into discussions and consultations that affect the pharmacy profession and share the perspective of a Pharmacy Technician working in Primary Care.
I also lead the local ICB’s BAME Network and this is something I am very passionate about. I strongly believe the workplace should be a diverse and inclusive place where everyone feels like they belong, and our differences are celebrated and embraced. I believe this is the responsibility of us all within the workforce and becoming involved in networks that we are passionate about is great for developing our own characters and building professional relationships.
Find out more about the RPS Primary Care Expert Advisory Group