Thank you for inviting me!
I have had a varied career, I started off in a hospital, and then made a move to community pharmacy, where I worked my way up the ranks in a few multiples. I enjoyed carrying out clinical services, I was one of the first Pharmacists to carry out vaccinations many years ago and always participated in local services. I had a change in personal circumstances, wanted to move home, and stumbled upon a vacancy for a GPHC inspector. I applied thinking I would never get to interview, but I may learn something by going through the process. I was surprised to be offered the role and was responsible for inspections and investigations in just over 500 stores in North East London, Kent, and Essex. Although it was an invaluable experience, I also learned this role was not best suited to me. I started looking for something with more autonomy, and Babylon at the time was looking for someone with some expertise in regulations. This is how I ended up in my current role, as Global Director of Pharmacy at Babylon health.
My job is incredibly varied, and increases in scope all the time, as expected in a growing company. I have two main buckets of responsibility at the moment. I lead the UK team, which consists of 70+ independent prescribing pharmacists as well as other key members of the team such as administrators and pharmacy technicians. I am responsible for quality assurance when it comes to prescribing, this encompasses prescribing by our GP and ANP colleagues as well as the Pharmacists. As part of this, I have been interviewed several times by CQC inspectors to provide regulatory assurance.
I also work globally, which means I support the other regions in improving and maintaining prescribing quality. I am currently working closely with the teams in the US and in Rwanda. This ranges from supporting them in writing policies, to working through critical incidents. My work is very operational. I work through the practical elements of helping to get a prescription to a patient when there are challenges like pharmacies without access to a computer.
First and foremost, I love the people at Babylon, I work in an open and supportive environment. We move at the pace of a rocketship at Babylon, it can be challenging but it is very rewarding to see the results of changes we have made so quickly. I love that Babylon has given me the platform to really showcase alternative ways in which Pharmacists can provide care and the way in which we can make a difference to patients’ health.
It is incredibly rewarding to see my colleagues develop in their roles. I am fortunate enough to have seen many of them progress into more senior roles as we all learn and grow.
I am an incredibly reflective person, so really enjoy looking back at what we have achieved and not just recognising success, but also understanding how we could improve going forward. We definitely learn much more from our failures than our successes.
We must do away with paper prescriptions in pharmacies. Despite the use of the NHS electronic prescription service, we still use so much paper in the form of prescription tokens and other types of prescriptions. I’m sure the impact on the environment is immense.
Much more automation is needed in the pharmacy world. I welcome the use of robot dispensing and automated collection points for those that don’t require Pharmacist interventions. This would release time so Pharmacists can spend much more time speaking with patients and other healthcare professionals. Every pharmacy should have some kind of instant chat mechanism so that patients can get help quickly and efficiently. If a Pharmacist had a safeguarding concern or wanted a visual on a rash this could be converted to a video call.
I envisage a world where a patient's health record is much more integrated so Pharmacists in the community are able to access information and make a more visible impact on the health of patients with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
Fast forward very far into the future, I would like to see tech enable much more tailored services for patients. Could we use Artificial Intelligence to optimise medications, help patients understand more about their side effects, provide more tailored counseling? There is so much potential in the Digital Health space. Medicines have a huge potential to cause harm, and Pharmacists are best placed to help minimise the risks. With the use of some innovation, the possibilities are endless.
Diversity & inclusion is incredibly important in any sector. Acknowledging we are all different, and valuing those differences is essential to any work environment. I think it is particularly important in Pharmacy at the moment, as the profession is undergoing a huge change. We are making a shift towards being much more independent in our clinical decision-making. With the introduction of all Pharmacists being independent prescribers in the future In order to build some meaningful foundations for this change, all Pharmacists should be involved. This includes those with protected characteristics such as Ethnic origin, age, Sexual orientation or disability, and others, as well as those practicing in a variety of sectors and roles.
In my experience in digital healthcare, patients are far more aware and educated with regard to their conditions and treatments. This in practice makes for a more meaningful and patient-centered discussion. Patients are increasingly relying on tech such as wearables and using apps on their mobile phones to monitor and then influence their health.
The ability to access personal information such as their medical record and up-to-date blood test results is much more important now than has ever been. This information can really empower patients to make positive changes in their health.
I am very fortunate to be able to work in regions other than the UK, and as a result, I can visibly see the huge impact technology has in other regions of the world. It is incredibly humbling to see the provision of healthcare in Rwanda and the way in which simply conducting telephone appointments with patients has helped provide more equality in access to healthcare.
Technology and innovation are hugely important, but also sharing what works well globally are incredibly important. I’m a real advocate for sharing what works well with others if we can improve healthcare for all.
Partnering Phlo has been a real game-changer for our patients. The use of Phlo for our patients means they are able to get tracking on their medication delivery and gives them a level of confidence they did not have otherwise. I personally use Phlo if I ever require a medication from Babylon. I have also convinced my parents to download and use Phlo to manage their NHS medication. It is so intuitive and easy to use, my parents would never have thought of using an app and love it.
I don’t really have much spare time as I like to pack it with as many things as possible. I have recently moved home and have taken it upon myself to do all of the DIY. This has included, painting, wallpapering, assembling furniture. I am trying to reduce waste and will be upcycling some old furniture to fit better into my new home.
I love movies but tend to go for unconventional choices, which I am known for within the team. When I can, I tend to read non-fiction. I love to read biographies and particularly loved the Obama books. I was quite struck by how ‘normal’ both Michelle and Barack were during their upbringing and find this incredibly inspiring. Apart from this, I love dancing, and attend classes weekly. Covid permitting, I love to travel and am eagerly looking forward to my next holiday to a warm, sunny beach.
Learn more about Phlo Connect's partnership with Babylon by reading our case study.