Spotlight on a CCG Pharmacist
If you asked most people to picture a pharmacist, what would they envisage? Probably someone stood behind a counter at a local pharmacy, counting tablets or giving advice to patients. In reality, there are various different types of pharmacist. Many that you’re unlikely to know about as they do not come in to contact with patients, or simply work out of public sight. We caught up with Aiysha, a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) prescribing advisor to shed some light on what it’s like to work in a CCG.
What’s it like working in a CCG?
“Working in a CCG is very different to working in a hospital, as it’s dealing with primary care. It’s not patient facing, so the work is less clinical than working on hospital wards. My role is quite varied, which I love. Duties can include responding to queries from GPs, contributing to the Medicines Optimisation Scheme and attending several meetings including practice visits.”
What influenced your decision to work in a CCG?
“I previously worked as a hospital pharmacist for 8 years, which was rewarding but also challenging. It gave me a great foundation of clinical knowledge needed for my career and allowed me to learn about the roles and skills of other healthcare professionals, like junior doctors, nurses and dietitians. Hospital pharmacy working hours can be long and very tiring though, especially with on call and weekend duties. I decided I wanted a bit more flexibility, that’s why I chose to work with Pulse. Thankfully, they found me my first role in CCG which was a 9-5 and suited my lifestyle a lot better.
There are several advantages of working in a CCG. I am learning a lot about primary care and working closely with GP practices. I also no longer have dispensary duties; no late nights, no on-calls and no weekend work. In this CCG, we even have dress down Fridays!”
What’s your favourite part of the role?
“Making a difference to patients. Knowing that an intervention I made improved a patient’s understanding of their medications, ensuring better health outcomes or even reduced the risk of harm.”
What attracted you to pharmacy?
“Honestly, doing pharmacy was not my first choice as it’s not for a lot of people. However, once I started working I knew I had fallen into the right career path. I am able to influence prescribing decisions of doctors in line with best practice and in fact, as an independent prescriber I am now able to prescribe myself.”
Advice for budding pharmacists
“Be proactive, read a lot and constantly seek to improve your knowledge. Also, value your colleagues and their contribution. You will go further if you can work well with others regardless of their job role. Most importantly, remember that the patient comes first and that they should be the focus of all decisions that are made.”