Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians were invited to 10 Downing Street on 4 July 2018 for a celebration to mark 70 years of the NHS.
Prime minister Theresa May hosted more than 200 NHS staff at the special reception.
David Campbell, chief pharmacist and clinical director for medicines optimisation at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, was among the guests.
“I felt really honoured to have been invited,” he said. “There was a real mixture of professionals present, and it was great to see several pharmacists there that I know.
“I spoke to Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, about the integrated team based approach we have in Northumbria and how pharmacy staff in my team are caring for patients across the health system in hospital, general practice and in primary care. I briefly mentioned our work in care homes, which has helped to define what good looks like in the NHSE Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes programme.
“It was also great to hear others’ stories, and the good stuff that pharmacy professionals are doing that is making a big difference to the care we provide to patients, particularly in new clinical roles.”
Benjamin Smith, a registered pharmacy technician at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust and winner of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK)/Pre-registration Pharmacy Technician of the Year award 2017, was nominated to attend the reception by Gail Fleming, Health Education England pharmacy dean for London and the South East.
Fleming put Smith forward because of his “above and beyond” contributions to pharmacy teams during his preregistration trainee pharmacy technician course, which he completed in 2017.
Smith designed and delivered a patient safety training session, focused on accuracy in dispensing, which has now been rolled out to pharmacy teams across the East Kent Hospitals Trust.
“I introduced myself to Jeremy Hunt; he was very interested in what everyone had to say,” Smith said. “I had a chat with him about electronic prescribing, and I also explained how pharmacy is helping the NHS and what pharmacy technicians are doing to contribute to that.”
Also at the event was Ravi Sharma, a senior GP practice pharmacist and national clinical lead in clinical pharmacy and genomics at NHS England.
Speaking to guests at the reception, May said: “As we stand here today, scientists are working to harness the power of genomics, artificial intelligence and more. Healthcare does not stand still — nor should the NHS.”