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Careers in Pharmacy


tter e b e r th nd fo a y l ous mend e r t ed hang c s a ob h The j

April 2008

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Careers in Pharmacy magazine is supported by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain




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The British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) is now firmly established as the biggest and best event for pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. In 2008 BPC will open on Sunday – an exciting innovation designed to make BPC far more accessible to delegates. With rates from £25 for this opening day, there really has never been a better time to attend this showcase event.

For further details and special early bird rates, please visit

BPC 2008 is organised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. The science programme is produced in association with the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences.




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Careers in Pharmacy

Government’s new White Paper - Impetus for Pharmacy Community pharmacy which is going through exciting times, is poised to enter a new phase. As we went to press, the Government’s much awaited White Paper on community pharmacy - Pharmacy in England: building on strengths - delivering the future, was made public. It has been welcomed with a sense of anticipation from all quarters and understandably so. It proposes to expand further the role of community pharmacy and will see pharmacies across England offering new public health services to patients, including the treatment of long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma. The new Government plans also offers a more clinical role for pharmacy, and includes many innovative proposals such as, supporting patients with newly prescribed medicines for long term conditions and those taking oral chemotherapy. The extent to which pharmacy is able to deliver improved services and play a greater role within communities, depends on all managers of primary care as well as a willingness on the part of pharmacists to embrace change. Additional resources including funds will be required to implement the changes and it remains to be seen how the Government is going to achieve this.

CB Patel

While community pharmacy has been hogging the limelight I would like to draw readers’ attention to exciting career opportunities in other sectors. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which has lent invaluable support to this magazine supplement since its launch, has provided interesting case studies from industry and hospital pharmacy, and I am sure this will give readers a bigger picture of this exciting profession and the range of opportunities it offers. As pharmacists featured in this edition will testify, a career in pharmacy is both financially rewarding and fulfilling, whatever the setting. Readers of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar will surely identify with this because of the significant presence of Indians and other South Asians in pharmacy over the last two decades and the enormous contribution they have made - a legacy that should serve as a strong incentive to the younger generation. If you are contemplating a career in pharmacy, you are on the right track. There is a wealth of information available from easily accessible sources to help you on your journey and I do hope that you will benefit from the information provided in this edition of Careers in Pharmacy. Finally, I would like to thank Cecil A Soans and the team at Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar for their efforts in bringing out this special magazine supplement.

CB Patel Editor / Publisher Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





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Careers in Pharmacy

Pharmacy is coming of age  Hemant Patel, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain


harmacy is becoming an increasingly attractive career choice for bright ambitious young people who want both a rewarding vocation, professional autonomy and a secure financial future. Never in the history of pharmacy have there been so many new opportunities and developments in the profession in such a short space of time. During 2008 the Government will publish a White Paper, which will set out future proposals for developing pharmacy services. This will consolidate and build on the developing clinical role of pharmacy. I am proud to be the President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain during a historic period which will define the future of pharmacy for the next generation. The role of pharmacists in the community, hospitals and industry, is expanding rapidly, with the powers that be giving greater recognition to the valuable role the profession can make to improve the health of the nation. Patients trust and respect advice from pharmacists because of their in-depth knowledge of drugs, their side effects and interactions and also find them approachable and easy to gain access to. Politicians, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown now see pharmacists as clinicians and as the front door of the NHS – a place not only to dispense drugs but to give advice on preventive health too and carry out crucial roles such as blood pressure monitoring, vaccinations and the management of conditions such as asthma and diabetes. This is reflected in the fact that pharmacists now have the opportunity to train as independent prescribers and take on the recently created consultant pharmacist roles. Community pharmacists are pivotal members of their localities and can play an important role in helping to reduce health inequalities in deprived areas. As a community pharmacist you have the opportunity to use your scientific knowledge on a daily basis and combine them with people skills. You can either run your own business or work for a large chain and enjoy the freedom of being able to move around within an established company structure. You’ll feel useful and make a real difference to people’s lives and be financially well-rewarded for your efforts. It’s a very responsible job and community pharmacists tend to be highly respected by the public. There are also a wide range of opportunities in hospital pharmacy, with a well established clinical training programme and career structure. Working in a hospital setting gives you the opportunity to work as


Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008

Hemant Patel part of a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals, develop specialisms and help manage the treatment programme of patients during the acute stages of their illnesses. Pharmacists are also highly valued in industry in both the research and production fields, with many members of the profession progressing to senior executive levels. Pharmacists in industry are at the cutting edge of discovering new active ingredients of medicines and formulating fresh ways in which they can be used. Trained pharmacists also have a hand in assessing applications by drug companies to manufacture new medicines, helping to protect public health and maintain standards. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is bringing pharmacy science, practice, education and regulation into sharper focus, as these are the tools that enable us to realise a vision of making Britain the safest place in the world to take medicines. Pharmacy 2020 is a long term project that will underline pharmacy’s position as a clinical profession and ensure that our contribution to drug discovery and manufacture is strengthened. It will develop a vision of what pharmacy could look like in 2020, with an aim to consolidate pharmacy’s position as a clinical profession, whilst highlighting the huge social role that pharmacists play in millions of lives every day. 2008 is a crucial time for the development of the pharmacy profession – it is an untapped resource of knowledge and expertise, which is increasingly being recognised by the NHS, industry and high street retailers. By training as a pharmacist now you’ll become part of the generation that takes full advantage of the increasing opportunities the profession is now able to offer. For these reasons I’d urge you to consider training to become a member of the pharmacy profession and to discuss the option with your family and friends.




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Careers in Pharmacy

So you want to be a pharmacist?


ommunity pharmacist Piyush Amin, 46, gives us the low down on his 25 years of experience in the pharmacy business. He runs Blackwells Chemists in Beckenham, Kent, a bustling hub of the local community, serving around 150 customers a day. Q: Why did you choose pharmacy as a career? I come from a long lineage of medical professionals – doctors, pharmacists and consultants. I chose pharmacy because I wanted to do something where you interact with people and make a difference to their lives. I’m a devout Hindu and I live my life according to “karma” – you have to do as much good as you can to cancel out anything bad you might have done in a previous life. Pharmacy was always my first choice though – I don’t think anyone should go into it because they didn’t make it into dentistry or medicine. I also thought pharmacy would be more compatible with having a family life, which it is, (my wife Rena is a clinical associate pharmacist at a GP practice and we have two sons aged 16 and 18. I think community pharmacy gives you the challenge of an interesting medical career without it ruling you life – which I think it does if you are a doctor. I think I’ve got the best of both worlds. Q: Where did you study? I took O and A levels at Kingsbury High School, north London and then did my BPharmS (hons) at the London School of Pharmacy, at the University of London, graduating in 1982. Students these days do an MPharms. I also have a post graduate qualification from Keele University in prescribing and therapeutics. Q: How has your role changed over the years? The job has changed tremendously and for the better. The government is waking up to the fact that they have this untapped resource of health professionals with expertise about drugs, their side effects and interactions .What other professionals do the public have instant access to if they need advice? They have also recognised that we are ideally placed to carry out screening work and help manage long term conditions like asthma, diabetes and blood pressure. I really think now is one of the best times ever to be a pharmacist and in the next 10 years our role will develop even more. Q: What do you enjoy most about the job? There’s so much variety in the workload and you multi-task all the time, thinking on your feet. You dispense prescription medicines and offer advice about side effects and drug interactions, but you’re also just

Piyush Amin

as likely to be helping customers with lifestyle advice for self-medicating with over the counter medicines. You can also offer reassurance to customers like mothers of young children or the elderly who don’t want to keep bothering their GPs. I also run smoking cessation programmes and offer advice on emergency contraception, Chlamydia screening, palliative care, needle exchange, as well as screening for cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Medicine use reviews are now a key element of my workload too. Q: How important are your customers? I always say the “Customer is King.” I treat everybody with the same courtesy and give them the same level of advice. If they bother to cross my shop’s threshold, that’s the least I can do. I like to be out at the counter so I can give them advice about their ailments and answer any questions they may have about their medication. Customers don’t have to register with a pharmacist like they do with their family doctor so if they don’t get the right level of service they tend to vote with their feet. There’s also the relationships you build up with patients – I like the fact that they come to me for my advice and opinion. I have a chair in the shop and I tell customers to come and sit down and stay for a chat – a lot of the elderly need to get out of their own four walls and see people. They like the banter in the shop – I say it’s like Eastenders in here. We’re in a parade and our shop is where people tend to come to talk about fighting for the post office or our parking spaces. It’s always busy and there’s always someone to talk to. I hope that pharmacies do stay local on people’s Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





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Careers in Pharmacy doorsteps and don’t go the way of the American shopping malls. Q: Do you do any other work outside the practice? Yes, I created a prescribing formulary for a local GP practice and present to them once a month on a British National Formulary topic. I’m also a professional executive member of Bromley Primary Care Trust, actively involved with heath car management, corporate and clinical governance as well as risk management and outcomes. I feel it’s important for pharmacists to get involved and help influence PCT policy and direction. I’m also the lead pharmacist for Bromley local pharmaceutical committee – it’s good to keep in touch with other pharmacists socially and professionally. I also do a lot of charity work for the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden , north London and am founding chairman of governor of the Swaminarayan School, an independent charitable school. Q: Would you recommend community pharmacy as a career to young people?. Yes – you can use your scientific training and knowledge to help make a difference to people’s lives. You also become a respected member of the community. The job can be as varied as you want it to be – there are so many opportunities to get involved with new initiatives and that is only going to increase over the next 10 years.

5 things you need to know about pharmacy  What A levels do I need?; A or B grades in chemistry and two of either biology/ mathematics/physics, although students may also be considered with chemistry or biology ( and one other subject) or the equivalent in Scottish Highers.  How do I qualify? You need a four year masters degree in pharmacy at a school of pharmacy at a university ( there are 22 nationwide). For details of courses go to After university you must complete a year’s practical training in a community or hospital pharmacy to pass a registration exam.  What do you study on a pharmacy course? The core curriculum comprises the origin and chemistry of drugs, preparation of medicines, the action and uses of drugs and medicines and pharmacy practice.  What about pay? A qualified pharmacist can expect to earn £20,000 to £30,000 depending on which area you choose to work in. After 10 years you could expect to earn the equivalent of anywhere between £35,000 and £60,000.  Where do I find out more? Call the NHS careers helpline on 0845 60 60 655 or visit their website on


Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008

Career options within pharmacy A registered pharmacist who has completed a four year Masters degree and a one year pre registration training programmes either in community or hospital pharmacy can then go on to work in a number of different areas. The main options include:  Community Pharmacy: Based in an independent pharmacy or as an employee of a High Street retailer. Community pharmacists dispense medicine and offer expert advice on drugs to the public. Some also undertake screening and management of long term health conditions and counsel patients to stop smoking.  Hospital Pharmacy: Hospital pharmacists dispense medicines but also get involved in case management and work as part of the decision making team across a range of specialisms.  Industrial Pharmacy: Industrial pharmacists work in industry in research and development of new drugs and gene therapy. They are also involved in production and quality assurances and are highly valued as scientists.  Primary care prescribing advisers: These pharmacists have a strategic role in making the best use of resources allocated for medicines and ensuring they are well spent. They analyse medicines and work closely advising health professionals.  Academic Pharmacy: Pharmacists can also work in teaching and research at universities and pharmacy schools.  Royal Army Medical Corps: Pharmacists are employed by the Army Medical Service to distribute medical supplies to current units and provide pharmaceutical care to personnel.




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Careers in Pharmacy

Industrial pharmacy has let me travel the world


r Tesh Patel, 47, was a north London kid who dropped out of school at 16, but now he’s got a senior manager’s job with Abbott Laboratories, a multi-national company employing 65,000 people. How did he get there? How did you get into pharmacy? By the back door, by the skin of my teeth!! My dad was a retail pharmacist, he came to England from India, in the 1950s to study, but he was very liberal and never forced us to do anything. I wasn’t interested in school and didn’t get many ‘O’ levels. I was a ‘bovver boy’ who wore Doc Martens and supported Spurs - I went to every home game between the ages of 13 and 16. I wasn’t really a bovver boy, but it was a way of avoiding being bullied like all other Asian and Black kids were. One day I was coming out of the Job Centre and I bumped into my best mate who told me he’d just been for an aptitude test for a College of Further Education across the road. I decided to go too and ended up being accepted onto an OND course. I left with 2 A levels and an OND with distinction. The rest is history. I dread to think of what might have happened to me if I hadn’t bumped into my mate! What happened next? I asked my dad about applying for pharmacy and he said, “Choose a profession or a vocation that the world will always want”. I got a place at Portsmouth’s School of Pharmacy and started to grow up a bit. By the end of the second year I’d won two academic prizes for being top student. One of the prizes was awarded by ICI and I wrote to thank them and asked if I could come for a job interview. They put me up in a five star hotel near Macclesfield and I was really impressed. They offered me a job when I graduated. I got a first class degree and off I went to work for ICI doing formulation research. Within a few years I decided to do a PhD and resigned to study at Manchester’s Department of Pharmacy. ICI ended up helping me and then offered me a job when I qualified. What area did you specialise in? I didn’t want to go back into academic research and applied for a job in production support. My role was to use my academic skills on the production floor, making

Dr Tesh Patel

the medicines, mainly tablets. It was a way of putting all the academic theory into practice. I ended up staying with ICI for nine years and then went to work for Abbott Laboratories in Kent as a manager of a department managing up to 15 people of graduate calibre, in charge of production support. I’ve now been at Abbott for 14 years and have moved into the area of quality assurance following a three-year spell being in direct charge of production. Quality Assurance is the speciality that actually oversees the quality of what the company produces. What are the perks like? I’ve travelled around nearly the whole world on expenses and met people from all walks of life and enjoyed it very much. Six figure salary packages are not unusual at my level. I’m very comfortable. The pay is probably a lot higher than it is in other branches of pharmacy, but it is very competitive. Would you recommend a career in industrial pharmacy? Yes, I’ve never regretted my choice. There is so much variety within industry – you can be a white coat research boffin, a sales and marketing guy, organise clinical trials, work in medical information or regulatory, production or quality assurance – it depends on what you want. A lot of captains of industry have been pharmacists and I think they can just name their price as far as salaries go, even as high as eight figures (although I’m not suggesting I’m in that league!). Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008




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Because we know you want to work closely with the community, we’ve made our new stores bright, friendly and local. It’s not just the strength and heritage of Boots and Alliance Pharmacy that meet in our new stores, the communities we serve meet in them as well. We’re investing £65m in re-branding our pharmacies to ‘your local Boots pharmacy’ stores, to create purpose built, professional environments that enable you to talk to customers face-to-face, building trusting relationships that mean your customers keep coming back. The great range of Boots products are quite an attraction too. Join us and you’ll soon see that our new approach means you can practise pharmacy the way that you’ve always wanted to. For more opportunities in your local area visit our website or call 0845 121 9011 to talk to the Alliance Pharmacy and Boots recruitment team quoting reference CP2903.




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Careers in Pharmacy

Keeping the focus on community


hen Alliance Pharmacy and Boots merged in July 2006 we anticipated exciting times ahead – and we haven’t been disappointed. Their individual reputations combined with the importance they place on community pharmacy was always going to create something special. And it has – ‘your local Boots pharmacy’. With the programme to rebrand the Alliance Pharmacies to ‘your local Boots pharmacy’ in full swing across the country, we’ve managed to catch up with some of our pharmacists, Bal Daliwal, Paul Oubie and Sheetal Dattani, whose stores have already undergone the transformation. Bal told us, “The transformation process was obviously a busy time, but in general it has gone very well. I find it very exciting to be part of this change and it’s interesting to see that the expectation of customers has shifted. We still have the dynamic of a small caring community pharmacy, but we now sell more retail products than ever before. Customers certainly seem to come in because of the Boots name.” “I’m incredibly happy with the change,” added Paul. “We’re no longer just a pharmacy, now we’re the local pharmacy. The local community has needs and we are equipped to meet them. We now have the facilities to provide a complete healthcare service in a thoroughly professional environment.” Sheetal, whose pharmacy is based in Heartlands Hospital, explained how impressed she was with the thoroughness of the preparation. “The training has been brilliant! I am new to Boots, having recently joined from another retailer, and really appreciated all the training and the introduction to a new way of working. There is even training available on the intranet. Overall the support has been fantastic.”

Bal Daliwal and team

“Support is one of the big differences that I’ve noticed,” said Bal, “Yes the training has been very good, but I also like the fact that the Regional Operations Capability Manager visits us weekly, and that we now have a supervisor as well. These things ensure everything runs smoother and we’re all well-supported.”

Paul Oubie

Sheetal Dattani

Paul told us that he really appreciates how the new layout has had a positive effect on his role: “The way the old shop was laid out meant that when I was dispensing, I was sat behind the scenes. But now it is open plan, I can speak to the customers. It helps me to provide a better service because I can have a conversation with them and find out more information – which is why I wanted to become a pharmacist.” “The Boots products are also great for our customers,” adds Sheetal. When you come to “People come in for their work for Boots it is prescriptions and healthcare everything you were advice and they buy more retail products whilst they’re taught a pharmacy here. The No7 range sells should be. like hotcakes. It really makes a big difference to our weekly retail sales.” “I think the consultation room makes the biggest difference,” comments Bal. “It has given us some great results and enables us to provide a much more professional service. The improved level of confidentiality allows us to be more accurate in our diagnosis and improves the service we provide to our customers.” But the really big question remained, “Do you still feel like a community pharmacy?” Everyone replied with a definite “Yes.” Paul elaborated, “The Boots name has only improved what we do. We are still community focused, but their reputation has brought us more custom. The services we offer make us the first port of call for our customers. When you come to work for Boots it is everything you were taught a pharmacy should be.” It seems that ‘your local Boots pharmacy’ really is the best of both worlds. It retains the friendliness, flexibility and approachability of a pharmacy at the heart of the community, but it benefits from the recognition, trust and commercial acumen of a national retailer. Why not find out how this great combination can further your career? Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





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Careers in Pharmacy

Careers in Pharmacy - Raj Patel


o become a pharmacist, students must study for four years at university with a further year working in the pharmacy – known as the preregistration year – before becoming qualified. In this issue of Careers in Pharmacy, the NPA asks one of its spokespeople, Raj Patel, about his life and career in pharmacy so far. Raj Patel has been at Mount Elgon Pharmacy, Wimbledon, London since 2005. When did you know you wanted to be a pharmacist? I wanted to become a pharmacist after completing my A levels in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. I enjoyed physics very much and my teacher used to call me ‘Brain Surgeon’ Patel, so in my mind I always wanted to be a doctor and do brain surgery. I never quite got the grades that I needed so after chatting to a friend, we both decided to go into pharmacy, I got a place at Leicester Polytechnic but he ended up doing computer science. My parents were both very supportive of my career plans and helped me a great deal through my ‘student days’.

‘dispensing’ practicals which were extremely difficult. During these we covered all aspects of preparing a prescription; making ointments, mixtures, liquids, checking dosages, legalities of prescriptions, controlled drugs. All students used to be on edge, one slight mistake and they were awarded zero marks, if we didn’t pass we would have failed the whole year. The final year got a little bit easier, as we had to do a project which meant we had to manage our own time although we still had lectures to attend.

Outside of the pharmacy course what were your student years like? My family supported me really well while I was studying. I stayed with ‘friends’ in my first year and then at the YMCA for the final 2 years. These were great years as we had a fantastic group of friends who I am still in touch with now. The Village People song brings back some great memories. The YMCA was opposite the train station, which meant I was literally half an hour’s journey to my home town Wellingborough. I was frequently jumping on the train to get food supplies and do my laundry. I didn’t have a parttime job as my parents wanted What A level subjects did me to focus on my course. We you study at school? were also lucky as we were Mathematics – Pure and given student grants when I Mechanics. was there. My tip to any Chemistry – I had a great prospective pharmacy student passion for ‘practicals’ and is to get a job in a local always enjoyed doing pharmacy and ask them to experiments and mixing things. help you dispense Physics – I enjoyed physics as prescriptions. I got a summer we had a fantastic teacher who job in a pharmacy and the taught us in a very ‘innovative’ experience was invaluable as it way. gave me confidence when I Raj and Shilpa Patel, Mount Elgon Pharmacy did my dispensing practicals. What about university life Dispensing medicines in ‘real’ as a pharmacy student? life also helped with different aspects of the pharmacy In the first year we had 3 hour practicals everyday course e.g. Pharmacology as you could relate course Monday to Friday (9am to 12pm) as well as lectures in work to patients. For example, studying about Atenolol the afternoon. The course was intensive and there was – a blood pressure medicine – made it a lot easier to hardly any free time. It was very difficult to keep the understand the subject. balance right between socialising and studying. The lectures tended to re-visit work done during A levels, What were the highlights of your pre-registration this was done to bring all students up to the same year? standard. I did my pre-registration with Boots the Chemists The second year was even more intensive and the and my tutor- was great. Looking back at my prepressure was really on as we had to pass our registration year, it is probably why I am so relaxed as


Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008




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Careers in Pharmacy a pharmacist as I used him as a role model. The highlight of my pre-registration year was the Annual Boots the Chemist Pre-registration Conference where I made an impromptu speech after the Managing Director had just delivered his. The ‘buzz’ and excitement I got from it was absolutely amazing. What did you do when you qualified as a pharmacist? After I qualified, my first post was as a Relief Manager at a Boots Branch in Newport Pagnell. I was Pharmacy Relief Manager for 3 years which gave me great experience of working with different people. I remember, so clearly, the first prescription that I dispensed it was written for Amoxycillin 250mg tablets… and did I deliberate over it. My career has been very varied and I have experienced lots of different aspects relating to pharmacy. The profession has given me a great platform to get involved in various roles across the years. I was locum pharmacist for 2 years which was fantastic as I enjoyed turning up at different pharmacies and getting to see different areas of the country. My fondest memories were locuming in Scotland during the summer months, working during the week and hiking the hills at the weekend. It’s amazing how Raj Patel pharmacy varies in different areas of the country and also the ways patient attitudes contrast in relation to health. From 1996 until 2001 my career took an about turn whereby I became heavily involved in I.T. and how it integrated with pharmacy. I was a Senior Systems Analyst/Project Manager for a company which was delivering electronic prescriptions from a GP surgery to a pharmacy - this we achieved successfully. I also made extensive trips overseas to Hyderabad and Delhi managing a development team. Additionally I worked for Alliance Unichem plc for a period of time and was Pharmacy Systems Manager, Database Administrator and Head of Professional Services. The most exciting was being responsible for the design and development of a new Pharmacy System which had the potential to be used in all the pharmacies in the country. I then became a Consultant Pharmacist working with the local PCT and helping GPs achieve quality indicators targets in Coronary heart Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension and Asthma. This was very fulfilling and made me realise the potential that pharmacists can achieve if they have access to clinical records.

I bought my pharmacy in 2005 and it is the most varied job I can now think of. It uses all the skills I had learnt in all my previous roles. I now sit on the Board of the Medicines Management Committee, am ViceChairman of the LPC (Local Pharmaceutical Committee), a member of the Pharmacy Steering Group Committee for the PCT and a National Pharmacy Association local Spokesperson. What have been the biggest challenges and achievements since running your own pharmacy? The biggest challenge since taking over the pharmacy is to try and make a difference to the local community. We have all worked very hard as a pharmacy team to deliver various services from Weight Management, Smoking Cessation, Medicines Use Reviews, Blood Pressure Testing as well as writing our own newsletter to our patients. We had a Go-Smoke-Free England competition whereby we invited children to design a poster for July the 1st, 2007. It was a tremendous success and helped children become more aware of the hazards of smoking. It was a battle to win the existing customers over as we had the reputation of the previous owner to emulate and also to change their ways of thinking. A big achievement was getting an article written in two National Newspapers, with the help of a great press officer at the NPA – Mark Beckett. The greatest achievement in my pharmacy is winning the biggest prize in Independent Pharmacy – The Overall Winner of the Unichem Business Awards 2007. The pharmacy was judged on 3 categories –Working In Partnership, Enhancing the Retail Experience and Promotion of Healthcare Services. We also won the Pharmacy Business Awards – Best Newcomer of the Year -2007. What do you think are the qualities that make a good pharmacist? The qualities that make a good pharmacist are good communication and listening skills, while having a caring attitude is helpful. It is important having a good relationship with the customer and making a huge impact on the quality of their lives.

Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





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We don’t believe developing your career should give you a headache. But don’t take our word for it – you can ask our pharmacists. What a healthy attitude. Pharmacists / Pharmacy Managers Vacancies Nationwide If you ask our pharmacists, they’ll all agree: here at Tesco, we provide our people with an unrivalled degree of flexibility so that they can work and develop their careers in precisely the way they want. We believe that’s the key to retaining the best professionals in the business. It also explains why we’ll offer you a market-leading training package, chances to enhance your professional knowledge with external training providers, and limitless scope for career progression. In fact, we’re pretty sure you won’t find training and development opportunities that will stretch you quite like ours will. When you join our Pharmacy, you’ll set high standards and keep them that way, focusing everything you do on the customer’s needs. The support you’ll receive from your highly-skilled assistants will give you more time to help customers choose the right products and offer them the best possible advice. If new customers keep coming back and loyal regulars recommend you to their friends and family, then you’re doing a superb job. In return for your commitment and expertise, we’ll offer you an impressive range of support and benefits. This includes a great salary package and outstanding share and pension schemes which allow you to plan for the future with confidence. And what about your future as a Pharmacist? In the long term, you could take on more people and greater responsibility as a Pharmacy Manager, or move into a regional support role. We’re so keen to see you progress and develop because you’re the future of Tesco Pharmacy. Your first step is to visit our website at or call 020 7853 9554. Tesco is an equal opportunities employer




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Kuldip Kaur – Pharmacy Manager, Kettering Another great thing about Tesco Pharmacy is that you don’t just get great leadership – you also get listened to. For example, the biggest challenge I’ve faced during my time here was opening a new pharmacy at our Wellingborough store in just six weeks. That meant recruiting staff, getting locum cover and sourcing stock, while still covering all my own shifts. I managed to get it all done in time, which was really exciting. But even better was Since then I’ve come to appreciate so many other aspects of the recognition I received for it within the company: I was invited my career at Tesco. Perhaps most important is the fact that Tesco to share my insight into the Pharmacy is so progressive. process at a management The most obvious sign of “I never dreamt I’d choose to work for one seminar with other this is the great leadership Pharmacy Managers, Area company for so long. But then, I’ve never we receive at every turn; and Senior each pharmacy manager been as challenged or fulfilled as I am here.” Managers Management. remains in regular contact “I was first attracted to Tesco Pharmacy thirteen years ago because the company is very successful financially and the Pharmacy operates within a stimulating, fast-paced retail environment. It’s great to be working in an environment where there are no other pressures that often get in the way of providing a great service – it makes a real difference.

with his or her Regional Manager, there are fantastic internal and external training programmes – for example, a recent residential course on positive management has really changed how I interact with my team – and we benefit from great frameworks for operational practices and staff training.

Now I’ve been told I’ll be able to do even more out-of-store activities, including more pharmacy openings and the cascading of new training methods among other pharmacy teams. That sums up what makes Tesco so special: I told my manager that I didn’t want to be a Regional Manager just yet, so they found ways to develop my career in the direction and at the pace that I want.

But that’s not all. Having strong leadership also enables us to act as innovators within the pharmacy market. For example, Tesco Work/life balance is also very important at Tesco. All pharmacy Pharmacy was among the very first pharmacies to embrace the managers are given the option of working a range of shifts from NHS’s Medicine Use Reviews three years ago. thirty-six to forty-two hours across the standard seventy-two We were also among the first hour week. That’s great for me, to introduce a full health check “My managers helped me find ways to as it means I can usually go to which includes blood pressure, the gym before work. A develop my career in the direction and colleague of mine has even had blood sugar and cholesterol monitoring. Tesco Pharmacy the chance to drop her hours at the pace that I want.” likes to be at the forefront of further in order to start embracing change and once again this is evident in the new a family, whilst retaining her management status. electronic prescription service which is being introduced. I believe Finally, it’s also great knowing that the pharmacy assistants and that this will give me more time to serve our customers better. pre-registration students I teach today will be the dispensers and Perhaps the best thing about all these policies is that they’ve pharmacists of tomorrow. We have a great time learning and brought us into closer contact with our customers. At first that sharing our knowledge and experiences – and I don’t think I’ll was a bit scary, but it’s been really positive in the long run, as it’s ever get tired of seeing these timid young students flourishing put customers right at the heart of what we do; one of my in this unique, customer-focused environment.” favourite things about the job nowadays is the little thrill you get when you know you’ve helped a regular customer turn a corner with their health problems.




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Careers in Pharmacy

What next? Here is a checklist of things to do to help you become a pharmacist or pharmacy technician: 1. Choose the right subjects. Although you should check precise entry requirements you will normally need to have studied sciences (especially chemistry and biology) and mathematics. 2. Speak to the careers advisor or careers teacher at your school or college. They will be able to discuss your interest in pharmacy and will be able to tell you more about the application process. 3. Look at the websites of the Schools of Pharmacy (listed in this supplement) as they will give you a flavour of what entry requirements you will need to join a Master of Pharmacy course and what it’s like to study at each of the different universities. 4. Work experience. Contact your local pharmacy, primary care organisation or hospital pharmacy to see if they will let you experience pharmacy in action. This could take the form of work shadowing, for example.

5. Get more advice. You could also try writing to the pharmaceutical companies for help and advice - get a list from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry ( 6. See what student life is like. Take a look at the website of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association ( as well as some of the university sites. 7. Visit the NHS Careers website ( which contains many useful fact sheets about what it’s like to be a pharmacist. You can also call them on 0845 60 60 655 for pharmacy careers advice. In Scotland, the NHS Scotland careers website address is: 8. Contact RPSGB. Visit, email or telephone 020 7572 2330. 9. In Northern Ireland, contact the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on 028 9032 6927 or at: 10. Pharmacy technicians. For information on careers as a pharmacy technician you could visit the website of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians, UK at:

Community pharmacy


Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008




Page 15

Careers in Pharmacy

SCHOOLS OF PHARMACY Visit these websites for more information on the courses and universities where you can study pharmacy ABERDEEN The Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, School of Pharmacy. ASTON (BIRMINGHAM) Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences, University of Aston, Birmingham. BATH Department of Pharmacy University of Bath.



BELFAST Queen’s University, Belfast. BRADFORD School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford. BRIGHTON School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton. CARDIFF Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University. GLASGOW University of Strathclyde, School of Pharmacy. HERTFORDSHIRE (HATFIELD) School of Pharmacy, University of Hertfordshire. KEELE (STAFFORDSHIRE) Keele School of Pharmacy, Keele University.

LIVERPOOL School of Pharmacy and Chemistry, Liverpool John Moores University. LONDON (KING’S COLLEGE) Department of Pharmacy, King’s College London. LONDON (UNIVERSITY OF LONDON) The School of Pharmacy, University of London. MANCHESTER School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester. MEDWAY Medway School of Pharmacy, University of Kent and Greenwich. NORWICH School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich. NOTTINGHAM School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham. PORTSMOUTH School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth. READING School of Pharmacy, Reading University.

KINGSTON Department of Pharmacy, University of Kingston, London.

SUNDERLAND Sunderland Pharmacy School, University of Sunderland. ht tp://hnss-web .sunderland

LEICESTER Leicester School of Pharmacy, De Montfort University, Leicester.

WOLVERHAMPTON School of Applied Sciences, Wolverhampton.



Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





Page 16




Page 17

Careers in Pharmacy

Fortune favours the brave


orking as a Pharmacist at Asda is a very different experience. It takes passion, commitment, dedication, ambition, drive, enthusiasm – we'd go on, but you get the picture. It's about standing up for what you believe in and getting things done. It's about having great ideas, and putting them into practice. It's about using your initiative instead of waiting for instructions. Asda Pharmacists tend to challenge the status quo. Push boundaries. Get involved, in store and in the community. They are leaders with vision. Champions of change. People who aren't afraid to be seen - or heard. One such person is Asda Pharmacist, Denise Laidlaw. Denise didn't exactly 'choose' to join Asda. She was working with the business that Asda took over and admits to being very apprehensive at first. Eight and a half years later however, she's still there! Here’s why: "No other organisation can compete with the professional challenges and personal work-life balance that Asda offers me. One day I might wake up at 6am and be at work, having beaten the rush hour. Another, I'll work from 5pm until 10pm, take my son to school myself and enjoy my off-peak Asda leisure club membership at the Hilton Hotel (because I work for Asda it is discounted!). "I love the autonomy we have. For example we currently don't offer pre-reg training at Asda, but because I trained as a tutor many years ago, I provide community pharmacy placement training for hospital students. It helps us to keep in touch with Secondary Care and students often end up as locums for us once they've qualified.

"Being at the heart of my community is another benefit. I have regular customers who I know by name. Free health tests, like blood pressure and diabetes help introduce new customers to Asda Pharmacy. And as an accessible, familiar face, customers often ask us questions about their health, rather than their GP. This is great, as we can hopefully put people's minds at ease quickly. "We do have sales targets to meet, and are encouraged to do so with a generous bonus. We also get an extra day holiday after Christmas called a Floating day by way of a thank you for all our hard work over the year. "What's more, at the end of a shift, you can always come back into store as a customer to buy something for tea. It's so convenient with everything under one roof and the 10% discount means I don't feel guilty when I add that nice new blouse from George to the trolley too!" It certainly appears that Pharmacists at Asda have a lot going for them. They seem to perform more than a job. They enjoy the chance to flourish, achieve their career goals and make a real difference at the heart of their communities. Something perhaps we should all be aiming for. You can find out more about Asda Pharmacists at

Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





Page 18

Careers in Pharmacy

Community pharmacy gets Royal visit

Left to right: Terry Silverstone, Chief Executive of Surrey LPC; HRH, Duke of Kent; Shashi Chandarana, community pharmacist; Dilip Joshi, NPA Chairman.


is Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, visited May and Thomson Pharmacy near Woking, Surrey on 28 February to learn about pharmacy’s place at the heart of local communities. The Duke was welcomed by the National Pharmacy Association’s Chairman Dilip Joshi, Surrey Local Pharmaceutical Committee Chief Executive Terry Silverstone and Shashi Chandarana, the pharmacist at May & Thomson since 1983. Mr Chandarana has been owner and manager of May and Thomson pharmacy since 1983. Mr Chandarana told the Duke about the range of health services he provides to the local community - he


Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008

was among the first in the area to introduce medicines use reviews, offers a stop smoking service and is involved in the local patient support group. Shashi Chandarana said: “I am honoured to have the Duke of Kent visit May and Thomson Pharmacy. I simply told him about the day to day life in a busy community pharmacy – the role of which has changed greatly since starting here in 1983.” Dilip Joshi commented: “The Duke of Kent’s visit gives us another opportunity to highlight that pharmacies are a vital community facility as well as a core health service. Mr Chandarana, like pharmacists all around the country, provides a package of care not just packets of pills.”




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Careers in Pharmacy

I love working as part of a team


autam Paul, 27, is a junior hospital pharmacist at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham and a former President of the British Pharmaceutical Student’s Association. Why did you choose to study pharmacy? I had a deep interest in science at school but knew I wanted to use that in a health care setting where I could interact with people rather than work in scientific research in a laboratory. At school I did a placement at a local hospice, just working in the kitchens, but it gave me the experience of working with patients. I also had an elder brother who was doing a pharmacy degree so he was able to give me a lot of insight into what it was like. Where did you study and how did you make that choice? I chose Aston University in Birmingham – I visited six pharmacy schools altogether and I felt this one suited me best. The campus wasn’t too large and I was just far enough away from my family in Sheffield to be independent but still get home when I needed my washing done! I got 3 ‘B’ grade A levels in Maths, Chemistry and Biology and got into my first choice which was Aston. Did you find the course demanding? Yes, particularly the first year when you are being brought up to speed and there is a lot to learn. We had between 20 and 30 hours a week in lectures, tutorials and practicals. As the years went on though the course got more interesting and complex and there was more emphasis on clinical application. How long does it take to qualify? I did a four year masters (M Pharm) and got a 2:1 in 2004. After that I did a one year pre-registration year at Leicester University NHS Hospital Trust – you work under supervision and have to be signed off as competent and then take a registration exam at the end of the year. Why did you choose hospital pharmacy? I did placements in the community, industry and hospital, but liked hospital best because you get to work as apart of a multi-disciplinary team and see patients in a more acute phase of their illness. What are you enjoying about working in a hospital setting? You get to learn so much and get a lot of support from senior colleagues, plus the team work. I’m doing a clinical diploma and have done rotations in different medical specialties so have experienced a lot of variety.

Gautam Paul

What are the hours? I work 37.5 core hours a week and have one night a week on call. I really enjoy the on-call work because you never know what you are going to get – it could be a request for emergency supplies of a drug or it could be a request for advice from a doctor from any speciality. You do get back-up from senior pharmacists who are there to call on if you need advice though. What’s the money like? Not bad for the stage of my career. Junior Band 6 pharmacists earn £23,000 to £31,000 plus on call payments. You can also boost your earnings by doing weekend locum work in the community. Once I have passed my clinical diploma later this year I can start climbing the career ladder. Is this a good time to be a hospital pharmacist? Yes – there are just so many opportunities opening up at the moment. I know pharmacists who are training to be prescribers and there are also the new consultant pharmacist posts being created. There are also lots more opportunities in the community too with pharmacists being called on to do screening and managing long term conditions. Who knows what more opportunities will come up in the next five years? What’s your advice to young people interested in pharmacy? Go and experience it – spend some time in a hospital or community pharmacy or get a work placement in industry. I think some people think pharmacy is a dull career choice – but once you experience it first hand you realise how challenging and varied it really is. It’s definitely not just about dispensing medicines. Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





Page 20

Careers in Pharmacy

Professional Organisations The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) The trade association in the UK producing prescription medicines. Its member companies research, develop, manufacture and supply more than 80 percent of the medicines prescribed through the National Health Service. Telephone: 020 7930 3477 Website:

Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK Professional and representative organisation for pharmacy technicians working in the UK. Telephone: 020 7551 1551 Website:

The British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors (BAEPD) Professional organisation representing companies who possess the appropriate licence to source prescription medicines from any EU member state and distribute them within the UK. Telephone: 020 8529 3646 Website:

British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) The British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) is the trade association for full-line pharmaceutical wholesalers. Telephone: 020 7031 0590 Website:

British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA) Founded in 1964 to advance the science and practice of herbal medicines in the UK and ensure its continued statutory recognition.


Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008

Telephone: 0845 680 1134 Website:

The British Medical Association (BMA) A voluntary professional association of doctors from all branches of medicine. Telephone: 020 7387 4499 Website:

The British Pharmaceutical Students' Association (BPSA) Founded in 1942 it is the only national body that represents pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees. It is also the official student organisation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Telephone: 020 7735 9141 Website:

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) Established in 1991 by the NHS Executive and funded directly by the Department of Health, CPPE provides continuing education and continuing professional development opportunities for community, hospital and primary care pharmacists in England. Telephone: 0161 778 4000 Website:

The College of Pharmacy Practice An independent organisation of pharmacists, from all branches of the profession, whose objectives are to provide post-registration training and continuing professional development (CPD) and promote the highest professional standards. Telephone: 024 7622 1359 Website:




Page 21

Careers in Pharmacy The Community Pharmacists Group A membership group of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, it was formed in 1994 and is open to all pharmacists engaged in the practice of community pharmacy. Telephone: 020 7735 9141 Website:

Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) It is the recognised body of UK multiple pharmacy and member companies are responsible for the running of over 4,000 pharmacies. Telephone: 01908 488 818 Website:

Department of Health The aim of the Department of Health (DH) is to improve the health and well-being of people in England. Telephone: 020 7210 4850 Website:

Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists Leading organisation representing UK hospital pharmacists. Website:

Health and Safety Executive The Health and Safety Executive and local government are the enforcing authorities who work in support of the Health and Safety Commission which is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. Telephone: 020 7717 6000 Website:

The Hospital Pharmacists Group The group consists of pharmacists who work in the National Health Service, private or armed forces hospitals and those employed by, or acting as consultants to, NHS health authorities, health

boards and trusts. Telephone: 020 7572 2414 Website:

The Industrial Pharmacists Group (IPG) A membership group of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society it consists of pharmacists who are engaged in industrial practice, those who act as consultants to industry, those whose work is concerned substantially with questions of industrial pharmaceutical practice. Telephone: 020 7572 2412 Website:

The Institute of Pharmacy Management (IPMI) The institute exists to promote and inspire education, research and excellence in pharmacy management across community and hospital pharmacy, academia, the pharmaceutical industry and wholesale distribution. Its membership is international with some of its members living in some 25 countries outside the United Kingdom. Telephone: 0141 570 1320

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) The government agency which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. Telephone: 020 7084 2000 Website:

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) Formed in 1921 to champion the interests of pharmacy owners and to promote, improve and protect pharmacy, it is the national body of Britain's community pharmacy owners. Telephone: 01727 832 161 Website:

Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) The PPA is responsible for calculating payment for all dispensing contractors in England. Telephone: 0191 232 5371 Website:

Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar - 2008





Page 22

Careers in Pharmacy The Pharmaceutical Committee (PSNC)



A representative body of community pharmacy on NHS matters, its main objective is to secure the best possible remuneration, terms and conditions for NHS pharmacy contractors in England and Wales. Telephone: 01296 432 823 Website:

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) This is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales whose primary objective is to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy. Telephone: 020 7735 9141 Website:

Veterinary Pharmacists Group Proprietary Association of Great Britain PAGB is the UK trade association for manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines and food supplements. Telephone: 020 7242 8331 Website:

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This group supports, educates and informs pharmacists engaged, or considering becoming engaged, in the preparation or supply of agricultural chemicals, veterinary medicines and allied products. Telephone: 020 7735 9141 Website:

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