The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all the benefits of collaboration in the healthcare industry — working together with the community and other organisations, thus making pharmacy a priority within healthcare settings.
The GP surgeries have a reduced service, thus making pharmacy pick up some ad hoc services plus doing our normal services, which shows us how adaptive our pharmacies can be with changing atmosphere and conditions.
The COVID-19 coping strategies and the developmental phases of pharmacy over the past few years — as seen in prescribing, medicines management and advanced clinical duties, as well as the new roles in pharmacy today — shows how far our competency as pharmacists can take us.
We as pharmacists and other colleagues coped, we suddenly renewed our training as vaccinators or we got trained as vaccinators within weeks, to be able to give the COVID vaccines. In other sectors of pharmacy practice, the GP practice pharmacists within the surgery, the community pharmacists and all the remote supporting roles during the pandemic, made sure backlogs were reduced, as well as ensuring the healthcare services are well supported. These cases show how much more we can adapt our skills as pharmacists to changing conditions and to support patient care. But we are not been looked after in several ways from working conditions to pay.
We are getting overstretched and we also lack formal advocates to champion the needs of pharmacies, pharmacists and working conditions — champions making sure every pharmacy and its workforce are working for value and are safe to work and safe at work.
I am advocating for pharmacists’ safety and working conditions.
We all know the value of time and the value of a good consultation for a patient, without the right time and enough time, within a community setting or at consultation level, it’s difficult to give the best care for our patients, with having a lot to do within a short period of time as seen in the community pharmacy settings.
Pharmacies are suffering in silence, stretching and overstretching most of the time, with pressures from patients and targets to be met.
I’m advocating for a more collaborative approach and a chance to work with the board in support of our services for our patients and our community to be able to give our pharmacy and pharmacists a safe environment to work, grow and develop.
Some barriers need to be broken, some relationships needs to be rebuilt with terms and conditions, and the face of pharmacy, pharmacists and its services need a brush up.
Sherifat Muhammad Kamal, English Pharmacy Board candidate