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‘I couldn’t have survived the pandemic without pharmacy colleagues, family and a positive mindset’

Pharmacy London’s CEO Amit Patel may have had a very different 18 months to many, but his own personal wellbeing journey has been supported by colleagues, friends, family and a positive mindset

COVID-19 and pharmacy; what can I say? I’m not quite sure how we have got through the past 18 months. 

When I look back, I think of PPE madness; guidance from the government and NHS changing on a daily basis; having to look at how all services are delivered; staff issues; medicine shortagespatient abuse and rising costs. All to go home, wake up tomorrow, and do it all again.

Then I think of the reality of what really happened: You stayed open; kept our populations and patients safe and cared for; put yourselves at risk on a daily basis when other systems closed their doors; called upon your families to do the same; and faced a number of consequences of doing so. All for the betterment of our communities. 

I’m not a pharmacist or a frontline worker but working in the background supporting our pharmacists and teams and taking on new representational roles in this time meant working harder than ever before. I was holding nightly webinars during the peak of the pandemic, daily board meetings and working – and often fighting – with a multitude of partners and commissioners to try and make sure you are well represented.

A lot of the issues are still there, and we still keep pushing forward. Personally, I have got through this by focusing on key aspects of having a growth mindset. Reminding myself that when I’m frustrated, it isn’t time to give up, but to persevere. Remembering that the effort and attitude that I put in determines everything I deliver. If my attitude becomes negative, so will the results that I deliver for the people I represent.

I remembered that the people around me make me resilient and getting through this has to be symbiotic. And most importantly, I remembered that my family, friends and colleagues are there to support me. We all want to get through this and we all want to achieve the best outcomes for us and those around us. The old African proverb “if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together” feels like my motto and I can honestly and proudly say that community pharmacy has come so far over the past 18 months.

Do we still have a long way to go? Of course we do.

Are things perfect? Far from it.

But I couldn’t have got through the past 18 months surrounded by anyone better than my community pharmacy colleagues, friends and family. 

So my message to all of you: Stay strong, stay resilient and know that there are people here you can lean on and who have your best interests at heart.

Amit Patel is chief executive of Pharmacy London. He will be speaking at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress in London on September 24.

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