How long have you been in your pharmacy role?
I first qualified as a pharmacist in 1999, and worked as a resident pharmacist in South Tyneside at the time. I later took on a role in aseptic and cancer services and then moved to Darlington to be lead pharmacist for cancer and aseptic services and cancer network pharmacist and several NHS reorganisations later I moved to my current role – consultant oncology pharmacist at South Tees at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.
What qualifications did you need and where did you gain them?
I undertook my undergraduate training (BSc (Hons) Pharmacy) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, and then undertook y pre-registration training in Carlisle. Once I was qualified, I subsequently undertook a MSc in Clinical Oncology at University of Birmingham and have undertaken postgraduate certificates in both supplementary and independent prescribing at Sunderland University.
To be a consultant pharmacist, I needed to submit a portfolio of evidence to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society who appoint an external review panel to determine if I meet the required competences.
The job description and job plan are also subject to a similar external accreditation process. I achieved my MRPharmS(Consultant) in December 2022.
Tell us something about your role people might not be aware of
I review patients receiving chemotherapy for breast, prostate, and digestive tract (upper and lower GI) cancers as well as prostate cancers and make prescribing decisions to ensure safe and effective anti-cancer treatment.
I see new patients with a diagnosis of breast and colorectal cancer who are to receive chemotherapy to downstage (shrink) cancer prior to surgery or following surgery to reduce the risks of cancer recurrence. I initiate chemotherapy in these patients.
What do you like about working at South Tees?
Technically I don’t actually work in pharmacy even though I am a pharmacist. However, I work closely with colleagues in pharmacy, and they are a very enthusiastic team of pharmacists, technicians and assistants. It’s hard to achieve excellence without an enthusiastic team.