Growing up in Hong Kong, I visited mum’s workplace (she was a nurse at a clinic) every weekend and I always waited for her in the dispensary until she finished work. The orderliness of the pharmacy appealed to me and the fact that a little pill could increase someone’s quality of life inspired me to pursue a career in pharmacy.
I graduated from the University of Nottingham with an MPharm degree, and worked as a community pharmacist before taking up my role as a Pharmacy Manager at Phlo.
As a pharmacist and pharmacy manager, I oversee the operations side of the dispensary, and ensure an efficient and safe working environment. From maintaining appropriate stock levels, record-keeping, to improving our procedures, I ensure that the whole process of dispensing medication is safe and legal. Ultimately, I have the responsibility of ensuring that all medications are safely delivered to our patients.
A typical day would start with double-checking the number of prescriptions that came in overnight so I can adjust the dispensers’ rota and decide on what to prioritise. Then I would run a clinical check of the prescriptions. Once that is done, I would then complete the final accuracy check and pack up the same-day orders according to the time they were scheduled, ready for the courier drivers to pick up.
The role for the rest of the day until the courier collection would be to constantly check for prescriptions to clinically check on the dispensing system, double checking all private prescriptions that comes through are actioned as soon as possible, completing final accuracy check of same-day or postal orders and communicating with the patient care team.
If it is a particularly busy day in the pharmacy, I will help our dispensers to ensure that we are being as efficient as possible as a team. After courier collection, I would then be able to work on other things such as reviewing procedures and the pharmacy rota. I will also be able to double check that all tasks have been completed for the day and organise the pharmacy with the team for the next day.
Phlo is a digital pharmacy which gives full transparency to the patient’s prescription journey – patients are informed on the prescription process throughout. From us receiving the prescription to the delivery of the medication with real time tracking. We also try to simplify the process between the patient, the GP surgery and the pharmacy and take the pressure of reordering medications from patients. We know that this is very convenient from a patient’s perspective.
We have a wonderful, dedicated patient care and pharmacy team who speak to our patients on a regular basis to ensure that the service runs as smoothly as possible for them. Our patients can speak to us any time via telephone, live-chat or email.
Having the opportunity to collaborate with the design and engineering team is very exciting, being able to give feedback from the pharmacy operations point of view is something I was not able to be a part of from my previous roles as pharmacist in traditional community pharmacies.
The traditional pharmacy model has been slow to catch up with changing patient demands. For me, Improving healthcare accessibility and convenience but still providing patient centred care and having patient safety is a priority.
My team and I communicate constantly throughout the day with the patient care team to ensure all queries are answered. We also raise any stock issues with the patient care team so they could contact patients or surgeries on our behalf as well.
Dispensers have a different workstation to focus on every week, however, we all look out for each other and help when needed. I also have weekly meetings with the dispensers so we could constantly discuss and reflect on what worked well and what we could do differently to make processes safer and more efficient.
I also communicate regularly with Pritesh, head of operations, and Pavan, pharmacy manager at the Birmingham branch, to share learning opportunities and improve our procedures.
Due to COVID and the nature of Phlo’s headquarters in Glasgow and me working in the London branch, the main way I work with the rest of the team at Phlo is through business communication platforms or video meetings.
My number one priority as a Pharmacist is to ensure the safe dispensing of medication and managing the smooth running of the pharmacy. This includes making sure all treatments and medications are clinically suitable and that all medications are accurately dispensed and delivered to patients in a timely manner without a delay in supply.
I am also passionate about promoting a positive working environment for staff and to include them in the process of developing procedures.
There are often service changes and improvements that we need to adapt to and it is rewarding when you can be part of that journey by giving feedback and having direct involvement in the development process. You don’t get to do that often when working as a pharmacist in high street or retail pharmacies.
It is also incredibly rewarding to know that we have helped patients when they are not feeling well and we could deliver their medications safely and accurately to them door-to-door.
Everyone at Phlo is so welcoming, creating a very friendly working environment.
I would consider myself as a little bit of a foodie so in my spare time I would visit restaurants with my siblings. I also enjoy building Lego sets, you can’t beat the feeling of satisfaction when you finish a set!
When I do get a longer holiday, I like to explore underwater marine life through scuba diving. Scuba diving is such a relaxing and calming sport to me; my most memorable scuba diving trips are immersing myself within the colourful coral reefs in the Red Sea and coming into a very close encounter with a curious hawksbill sea turtle at Liuqiu island in Taiwan.
London is such a diverse city where there is always something going on, from new restaurants/ cafes to exhibitions popping up. I also love that we could travel to other cities easily as well.
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