Meet some of our RPS Fellows
Meet some of our recently-appointed Fellows
I have always considered myself very fortunate, in that once I had decided to study Pharmacy, I knew I wanted to work in the industrial sector. I wanted to be involved in the development and manufacture of medicinal products that make a difference and help improve the quality of life for patients.
I joined the industry initially in a technical support role for production, then moved into quality assurance as an operational quality representative, giving me the opportunity to see all aspects of manufacture and control of a wide range of medicinal products. Many active substances and packaging components were also made on site, so this provided even broader experience. It also, of course, gave me hands on experience of what can and occasionally does go wrong! In these roles, I became very familiar with the requirements for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). The pharmaceutical industry must adopt these as it is very highly regulated.
My boss encouraged me to consider becoming a “Qualified Person” (QP) I sat my oral viva at the old RPS building near Lambeth Palace, passed, and became a QP in the mid 1980’s. Since then, I have spent much of my career in various quality assurance roles, from operational through to senior management, culminating with the role of VP International QA responsible for GMP compliance for both development and commercial medicinal products.
Over 20 years ago I was invited by the Chair of the RPS QP Assessors group to become a QP Assessor. In this voluntary role, I review application forms and conduct Vivas for prospective QPs as part of a panel.
I started my own consultancy in 2009, wanting to share the knowledge and experience I had gained in the industry and as a QP. In this capacity, I have assisted start-up companies to develop and implement appropriate quality systems to support the work they perform. I have also assisted larger companies to streamline their quality systems to improve both efficiency and effectiveness. I have helped many companies prepare for successful regulatory inspections and helped others to deal with the outcomes of a poor GMP inspection.
A few years ago, I was invited by UNIDO (United Nations International Development Organisation) to join a small team of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) experts involved in a project to strengthen local manufacture of medicinal products in East Africa. After initial training in Vienna, I joined a team of 3; each assessing manufacturing sites on our own, according to agreed guidelines and WHO standards.
UNIDO had already spent time in each country completing the groundwork by liaising with the industry, regulators, and government officials to ensure each project had the maximum chance of success. The project that initially began in East Africa, was later rolled out in some West African countries. Each GMP expert assessed individual companies who had signed up to the initiative and were interested in achieving the standards required to gain valuable site accreditation to WHO GMP standards. I conducted GMP assessments of their premises, equipment/utilities and the quality system which should describe and support all activities being performed. At each assessment, I was accompanied by a local regulatory authority inspector to demonstrate transparency and consistency.
In several countries, I also had the opportunity to attend meetings with various Ministers of Health and Trade Organisations. These initiatives are critically important in helping countries become more reliant on the domestic manufacture of cost effective, quality medicines for the local market and this in turn can often also open additional export markets to them. Each visit, I would typically spend 2 weeks in country and complete 5 company/site assessments each of 2 days. Hard work and long reports to complete, but definitely worth it. I enjoyed the challenge of considering cost effective solutions and improvements that companies typically with quite limited resources would be able to complete in pursuit of accreditation to WHO GMP standards. In all countries, I was respected as a Pharmacist, with many of experience of EU and WHO GMP requirements.
I was also able to make several return visits to review action plans for improvement at various sites and perform some re-assessments of both sites and systems. This gave me the opportunity to provide support and encouragement to these companies and to actually see the improvements that had been made.
More recently, in addition to my consultancy, auditing and training work, I have been involved in another project for UNIDO, supporting a country in a different area of the world wanting to implement EU GMP standards to ensure appropriate quality and consistency of all medicinal products manufactured and supplied. For this project, I have been involved in numerous training courses on a range of topics associated with GMP. This in turn has led to some 1:1 coaching sessions with individual companies. It is very satisfying to see how in all cases, the companies develop a greater understanding of the regulations and guidelines (whether WHO or EU) associated with their operations and are empowered to implement changes that will assist them comply with the requirements.
I have been a Pharmacist and worked in the industry for over 40 years. I continue to have a varied and fulfilling career and am delighted to see more opportunities for those wanting to enter the industry.
What does being a Fellow mean to me?
I am both delighted and humbled to have been nominated as a Fellow of the RPS. It will motivate me further to helping others during their various career journeys. It is an honour to realise that my contributions have been recognised.
Peter is currently the Medicines Net Zero Assistant Director for NHS England, leading the national strategy and policy work to reduce the medicines carbon footprint of the NHS in England. This work comes from the demand side, including levers such as high quality, low carbon inhaler care and the reduction in waste anaesthetic agents, to the supply side, working with medicines manufacturers and supply colleagues across the pharmaceutical industry.
After graduating from the University of Bath in 2013, Peter completed his pre-registration year in Nevil Hall Hospital in Abergavenny, Wales before moving to London where he started at King's College Hospital as an aseptic pharmacist. After realising his passion for this critical high impact area of pharmacy he quickly progressed into leadership roles. Peter chaired the London and South East Aseptic Services Managers group where he set up a workforce and research workstream; as well as sat on the Pharmaceutical Aseptic Services Group. In 2018, Peter undertook the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer's Clinical Fellowship Scheme giving him unparalleled exposure to pharmacy and healthcare leadership where he started to realise the importance of pharmacy/medicines leadership in tacking the climate crisis. After the fellowship, Peter returned to King's as Associate Chief Pharmacist - Aseptic Services where he oversaw two large capital projects and managed a critical cross-site CIVAS service during COVID all whilst developing and growing the Aseptic service, ensuring it continues to maintain the best patient care into the future.
Knowing the climate emergency is a health emergency and the vital role that pharmacy staff have in tackling it, Peter joined forces with other pharmacists to cofound Pharmacy Declares; climate conscious pharmacy professionals based in the United Kingdom calling for divestment, declaration, climate-health leadership & education. Pharmacy Declares went on to support numerous pharmacy organisations, including the RPS, to meet these objectives. Peter’s passion for sustainability, EDI and health inequalities continued to grow as he championed for these to be a part of pharmacy practice and calling for leadership in these areas from pharmacy organisations.
Peter then moved into his current role in NHS England working within the medicines policy and analysis unit leading the Medicines Net Zero Team, a Greener NHS workstream. The NHS was the first healthcare system in the world to commit to Carbon Net Zero and medicines currently make up 25% of the carbon footprint of the NHS in England, a key priority area for Net Zero. The team supports identification, empowerment and leadership working towards decarbonisation across both supply and usage of medicines.
What does being a Fellow mean to me?
I was thrilled upon finding out that I was not only nominated but awarded an RPS Fellowship. This Fellowship is recognition that pharmacy professionals have a role in tackling the climate crisis and that doing so is recognised by our professional body. I am excited to represent the RPS as a Fellow, using my platform to bring more awareness to the climate crisis and show what we, as pharmacy professionals, can do to ensure a healthy future for our patients and planet.
Peter Mulholland is currently a neonatal pharmacist at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. In addition he is the lead pharmacist for immunoglobulins for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, and the lead pharmacist for Procurement Strategy for the board.
Peter qualified from the University of Strathclyde in 1981. His first senior role was as the Quality Control pharmacist at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, from here he took on the lead for pharmacy computer services. Peter attained membership of the College of Pharmacy Practice by examination in 1993. This was converted to a MSc in Clinical Pharmacy in 1997 at Liverpool John Moore’s University, and Fellowship of the College was awarded in 2007, following assessment against the Competency Development and Evaluation Group (CoDEG) standards. He was the second recipient of the College’s Bamford Silver Jubilee cup, in 2008. He acted as a tutor, and assessor, for the Scottish Hospital Pharmacy Vocational Training Scheme, which provides a clinical development programme for junior pharmacists.
Peter's main clinical role and research role has always been the care of neonates. He joined the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG) on its foundation in 1994 and has been involved with the group ever since, joining the committee in 1997. This resulted in taking on roles that would not necessarily be associated with a pharmacist working in Scotland, such as membership of the NPSA group, looking at care bundles for gentamicin use in neonates and, more recently, one of two pharmacists on the NICE Guideline development group for neonatal parenteral nutrition and the subsequent development of Quality Standards for the group.
What does being a Fellow mean to me?
Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have bosses who have allowed and supported me to develop my varied roles. I am also passionate about developing junior pharmacists to reach their full potential. None of this is possible without the additional support of professional development organisations either at a specialist level such as NPPG, or at a national level like the RPS. I am honoured to have had my work recognised with Fellowship of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Dr Amira Guirguis
Amira originally trained as an accountant, has pursued a career as a pharmacist and gained her PhD in the in-field detection of New Psychoactive Substance (NPS). She has worked in community and hospital pharmacy, and as an academic and researcher.
After completing a BSc in Accountancy, Amira pursued her Pharmacy degree at the University of Hertfordshire. Amira worked in community and hospital pharmacy before pursuing her interests in academia and research. Amira had a passion for combining science and practice, so as she was completing her PhD on novel psychoactive substances and their detection, she was leading on national borough-level talks with service providers to raise awareness about these novel drugs, highlighting the role of the pharmacist in reducing harms from these drugs. Amira was very passionate about Foundation pharmacists (previously known as pre-registration pharmacists) and was engaged in their education and training with providers such as ProPharmace. She’s been also involved in the training of designated supervisor (previously known as tutors) training, and the ProPharmace/HEE Educational and Practice Supervisors training of pharmacy team members across sectors.
Amira is particularly known for the breadth of her knowledge and experience in drug detection particularly the novel psychoactive substances, where she has made major contributions through her PhD and to the trial of drug checking in community substance misuse services in collaboration with (Addaction). The project piloted the first home licensed service and had a great impact on drug policy in the UK.
Amira sits on CD national Boards to advise and share information on matters related to controlled drugs and substances with a potential for misuse and/ or diversion. This is owing to Amira’s expertise in current projects that she co-supervises with colleagues from Swansea University, the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Anglia Ruskin on pharmacovigilance and medicines diversion, drug abuse and mental health, opioid use disorders, smuggled drug detection in prisons, evaluation of healthcare professionals’ knowledge and response to people who use novel psychoactives, and analysis of drugs on the web to improve preparedness to future threats.
Amira is known for promoting the role of the pharmacist in reducing drug related harm through national and international forums. Amira is committee member of the Joint Pharmaceutical Analysis Group (JPAG) and the Geoffrey Philips Award Chair, she is a member of the RPS Science and research Committee and a Board member of the RPS Medicines, Ethics and Practice. Amira was also on the Women to Watch List 2020.
Amira is now the Programme Director of the 4-Year MPharm and the 5-Year MPharm with a Foundation (Preparatory) Year at Swansea University. Amira contributed to the early development and establishing of these programmes, which welcomed their first cohorts in September 2021.
What does being a Fellow mean to me?
It is an honour to have been designated a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. It is humbling to be recognised by my peers. I was incredibly fortunate to have worked with inspiring pharmacists and colleagues within the profession and from the wider healthcare team.