Insight from Manpreet Saini

27th February 2020

Time in general practice

3 and a half years




Masters in Pharmacy (The School of Pharmacy), Certificate in Pharmacy Practice (The School of Pharmacy), Work-Based Learning (1st Contact Scheme) and Clinical Assessment in Primary Care (City University), Independent Prescriber (London South Bank University)

Current Role

I work as a practice pharmacist in Redbridge across 2 GP practices.

  • Best thing about being a pharmacist in GP practice: Giving patients time to speak as much as they wish regarding their health and medication – and then receiving their appreciation at the end of the consultation
  • Worst thing about being a pharmacist in GP practice: Responsible for telling patients that certain medication cannot be prescribed for them any longer – and then receiving their angry comments

My life before becoming a pharmacist in GP Practice

I started my career in a hospital setting working at the same trust for 5 years where I started working there as a Pre-registration Pharmacist to a fully Qualified Pharmacist. I completed the Certificate in Pharmacy Practice course whilst working as a rotational Pharmacist before settling into Aseptics, Oncology and Haematology. I made, what was considered a gigantic leap to a Primary Care Trust in East London which was an expansive role where I was given the opportunity to undertake the Independent Prescribing course, with a view of running respiratory clinics. However, after the demise of PCTs, my role continued as a community health services directorate pharmacist under a mental health trust. After a total of 8 years in this position, my desire to use my prescribing qualification led me to take advantage of the new opportunities that were becoming available to pharmacists like myself in the general practice setting.

GP Practice experience

My role over these last 3 and a half years has evolved more than I initially imagined. After easing myself in with working on audits and searches, I used the results to write policies to improve practice and standardise procedures. Medicines related query solving, managing medicines requests and the repeat prescribing process became my core tasks. I progressed onto running asthma, COPD, hypertension, diabetes, AF, CHD, pain management and medicines review clinics in a more patient facing role. I currently lead on safety alerts, CCG audits and LIS to improve practice, as well as supporting QoF and practice standards. I partnered with the local smoking cessation services to provide a supportive service to my patients who were smokers and wanting to quit. which proved to be income generating for the practice. Being able to provide my services to patients have proven to be most welcomed by the patients as well as my colleagues at the practice. I have been able to repeat this success across a second practice where I also see patients with certain minor ailments, thus freeing up more appointments for the GPs. I am currently in the process of finalising a training plan for a Pre-registration pharmacist in conjunction with the hospital trust at which I started my career. However, I think it would be too easy to make statements like ‘life comes full circle’ so early in my career. I like to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

What are your current priorities / key areas of focus?

  • Provide expert mentoring and training for my first Pre-Registration Pharmacist who will join our practice this year.
  • I would like to upskill myself in prescribing in insulin since currently this is covered mainly by the Diabetes Specialist Nurses. Although a valued resource, I feel that having an in-house expert will improve the patient journey and provide better care as monitoring and decisions for care can be made and managed easily.

How have you demonstrated impact and value in your practice?

QoF results in asthma and diabetes have continued to improve as I took on the care of patients living with these conditions. There has been more improved audit work which has led to an agreed improvement in practice between clinicians. I have standardised the processing of controlled drugs prescriptions to ensure that prescriptions are safely stored. I have been provided with written commendations by my patients where my interventions have been valued. I have generated income for my practice by engagement with CCG, providing a smoking cessation service and improving QoF targets.

What development do I need / am I undertaking at this point in my journey?

I am hoping to consolidate my learning about prescribing in diabetes by doing a formal course in the area. In addition, I would like to undertake some training to improve my skills in minor ailments.

What skills or competencies do you feel are important to have in your role as a practice pharmacist?

Firstly, having good interpersonal skills. This puts you in good stead for effective consultations with patients as well as being able to work in a multidisciplinary team. Organise yourself well, use diaries, calendars and of course recall systems to ensure all plans are executed and you do not lose credibility in front of staff, patients and colleagues. Finally, have respect for others. Everyone from colleagues to patients have some story running in the background, as do you. Respect levels of understanding, abilities and feelings. This allows you to be empathetic and understand the thoughts that inform feelings, actions and understanding.

What has been your perception of the i2i Network?

My perception of the i2i Network is that it is expertly led and lends that expert knowledge to pharmacists. It provides not only knowledge but practical ways of applying all that education in a planned and structured manner which is relevant to your workplace. It is because of all this that I had the opportunity to deliver a teaching session for them at one of the i2i workshops.

I wish someone had told me………

My career as a pharmacist can be as colourful as possible. I can work shoulder to shoulder with the medical profession and have confidence in my expertise. I can be trusted by my patients to provide them with good care. I can improve methods of practice. I do not feel compartmentalised by working in any particular sector as I have drawn from all aspects of my career so far.