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A day in the life of a pharmacist

I'm Khurshid Hussain, a pharmacist at Care UK.

I would imagine that my journey into working within secure environments is similar to that as other healthcare professionals that wanted to try something slightly different than what would be considered as the conventional work stream.

Being a Pharmacist, I had an avid interest in drugs...

I particular enjoyed my interaction with the methadone patient, although challenging on the most part, I was very intrigued by them. This led to me shadow a drug addiction specialist, who introduced the concept of working in Prisons.

Low and behold some 3 years later, I was cluster Pharmacist for the Staffordshire prisons covering a category B, females and category D prisons. This also meant travelling to other establishments like Parkhurst in the Isle of White, through to Askham Grange in Yorkshire to support and learn from each site in regards to the challenges we faced in ensuring safe and effective medicine management.

My role within the prison estate was as the medicine management lead. This meant ensuring the safe and effective management of medication from prescribing through to administration. Within my role, I was also responsible for collaborating with other stakeholders and providers to ensure that our agendas were aligned in safeguarding the effective delivery of medication whilst simultaneously engaging with patients to take greater responsibility of their own health and well-being.

This meant challenging existing norms and models of working and giving greater autonomy and responsibility to Pharmacy in delivering primary care services. Subsequently, the Pharmacy team went from one dispenser to five full time Pharmacy Technicians and two dispensers (without having a Pharmacy onsite!).

As a result, the role of a medicine management pharmacist is primarily streamlining the medicines side of healthcare through operational changes and then subsequently creating a framework that gives assurances that the changes are embedded. This includes formulary development and implementation, ensuring good governance, investigating, learning and sharing information from mistakes, reassuring CD requirements and good practice in undertaken, developing and upskilling your team to take on new challenges through training e.g our Pharmacy Techs were trained to undertake ECG and bloods clinics.

Similarly, being a prison Pharmacist also enables you to grow and develop clinically. As a result of my interest and exposure to drug addiction, I completed my RCGP2 in drug addiction and was inducting, titrating and detoxing patients that came to our prisons. I learnt a lot clinically from the ANP, GPs and even the one dispenser that inducted me, from which I could then share knowledge back when conducting MDTs in managing complex patients.

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