Shilpa Patel

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Born in Oslo, Norway, I came to UK twenty-two years ago to study pharmacy at Brighton university. I have been a community pharmacist for 18 years and joined the NHS England scheme to introduce pharmacists into GP practices in May 2016. I had mixed emotions when I joined the practice. On one hand I was worried that I had lost most of my clinical knowledge due to working in the community for so many years; on the other hand I realised there was so much I could improve at the practice.

I began with reviewing and rearranging the prescription reordering process; we introduced a highly skilled prescription team and ensured medications are being monitored, reviewed, and audited regularly. You can read more about the work I did in this area.

I was approached by the lead GP and asked to tackle the issue of overprescribing benzodiazepines; this lead me onto doing lots of research; I spent a day at the local drug addiction clinic and I came across a wonderful website benzo.org.uk which taught me about the Ashton’s manual. I learned all about benzodiazepines and was able to set up a successful benzodiazepine reduction programme which helped many patients reduce and completely wean off their medications.

Over the following months I did lots of research, I ran reports and I performed audits. I assessed specific patient groups and have processes in place to improve the prescribing within the practice; improving hypertension management, cholesterol management, avoiding drug interactions, cardiovascular disease management and prevention, management of pain conditions such as gout, migraines and osteoporosis.

My biggest hurdle has been to detangle the overwhelming amount of resources available. The information is available but it is all over the place. I slowly started to collect high quality information and recorded any studies, evidence, protocols and guidelines which I felt would be useful. I soon became the prescribing lead at the practice and written practice specific protocols for most areas of prescribing.

I went on to becoming an inspirational speaker at NHS England training events for new GP pharmacists. I spoke about my compilation of protocols and important information at these events, perhaps you are one of the pharmacists who attended one of my talks?

I have now been working at the practice for exactly four years and consider myself a GP (general pharmacist!) I have now accumulated a huge folder of resources and it has taken me a while to transfer this onto this website. For anyone else gong through this process, why should you have to waste time going through all the hard work I did to get to the right resources? I have done all the hard work for you, here it is – all compilated and ready for you to use!

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