Who or what factor inspired you to choose to study pharmacy?
I have always enjoyed talking to and helping people and I have had a keen interest in science and healthcare; hence pharmacy was an obvious choice to allow me to combine my interest in health science with my social skills
What is your 10-year plan? (personal or professional)
I enjoy socialising, both in the real world and through social media. I am particularly enthusiastic about the role of the pharmacist in social media, and, to that end, I am developing my own media channel, ipharmacistuk.
I am keen to continue to reinforce the pharmacist’s role online to encourage the public to adopt new approaches to improving their health. I believe that through providing new services to support patients, we can encourage healthier behaviour and empower patients to take more control over their own care or treatment.
What is your practice area of interest?
I am currently working as a practice pharmacist in a GP practice, where I am developing my clinical skills so that I can support patients in a clinical setting as well as in a community pharmacy environment. I still work as a community pharmacist in my spare time.
If we met at a conference and were not allowed to speak about pharmacy or the weather what topic would you choose?
All the Cs: cars, clothes, children and cinema.
What is your opinion on read/write access to patient records in the community pharmacy?
I believe it is a very useful tool for providing a more integrated health care service to patients in a community pharmacy. However, I believe it must be viewed with caution and attention so that correct action is taken to help patients.
How do feel the community sector fits alongside the drive to place pharmacists in the GP practice setting?
It has an important role to play, we shouldn’t underestimate the role the high street pharmacies play in servicing the needs of walk-in patients, those who visit the pharmacist almost on impulse, who might not be motivated to venture to the surgery which is inevitably off the high street and less accessible.
What is your top tip for newly qualified pharmacists?
Having the right skills and also joining the RPS where lots of support will be provided and probably getting involved in the RPS foundation course.
Do you think non-medical prescribing pharmacists are capable of managing patients in the community pharmacy setting?
Prescribing pharmacists have been around for at least a decade, and they have demonstrated the value pharmacists can have as prescribers. As experts in medicines, pharmacists have the required knowledge and skills to prescribe POMs for patients with a diagnosis by a GP.
My prescribing pharmacist colleagues also have skills to diagnose and manage conditions that are in their areas of special interest and they have demonstrated value by doing this. I believe that this can be extended to community pharmacy with access to patient medical records.
Do you think paying community pharmacies by dispensing volume is the future?
No, it just turns into a numbers game, turning the emphasis from quality to quantity, production line dispensing could effectively discourage appropriate attention being given to each patient.
Do you think pharmacists should be allowed to hold partnerships in the surgery, much like GPs do?
I don’t see why pharmacist shouldn’t be allowed to hold partnership in the surgery, they are healthcare professionals and offer value to the healthcare system.
Why should non-members join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)?
I joined the RPS two years ago and I felt supported and it’s an honour for me to be an advocate member and a moderator for the RPS public health network. I have also joined the Surrey LPF steering group and recently became an RPS foundation champion. My advice is to join the RPS.
In your opinion who are the top 5 influential pharmacists in the UK right now?
I don’t want to limit it to five, and a good example is that more than a 1,000 influencers on Twitter contributed to #pharmacy24 on March 24, 2016, and there were over than 12 million Twitter impressions.
Hala Jawad is a GP practice pharmacist, RPS public health network moderator and member of the Surrey LPF steering group. Follow Hala @jawad_hala
A great article from Hala.