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Podcast – Why pharmacy needs more female leaders and leaders of colour

Lelly Oboh, a consultant pharmacist for the care of older people at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London and at the NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, reflects on her career and talks about the importance of finding the right mentor, in part two of her A Coffee With… podcast episode 

Earlier this week (March 22), Ms Oboh discussed her career journey so far and her role in the government's review of overprescribing in the NHS in part one of her A Coffee With… podcast episode.

In today’s episode, she reflects on her career successes and challenges and looks towards a vision of what the future of pharmacy may hold.

“I think I'm quite resilient and I tend to have a positive outlook,” she tells C+D’s reporter Emily Stearn in a podcast (listen below). “But what I've had is many medium-sized challenges and little challenges that just persist.”

A key challenge she has faced is not pursuing a “normal and traditional route” in pharmacy, which has meant she has often had to “prove herself”, she says.

As one of the only consultant pharmacists from a community pharmacy background, “people just couldn't get their head around it”, she adds.


Read more: Podcast - My journey to become a consultant pharmacist in the UK


But Ms Oboh is optimistic for the future of pharmacy and has two clear goals. Firstly, as a consultant pharmacist for the care of older people, she aims to ensure that “older people are getting better outcomes from their medicines” she tells C+D.

Importantly, the sector must make sure its has “a workforce that’s fit to deliver that”, she adds.

Wherever an older person is accessing care, they should “be able to lay hold of one pharmacist” with the skills, confidence and competency “to provide the right intervention or refer them to the next place where they can get help”, she says.


Read more: Podcast – My experience working in the hidden world of prison pharmacy


Her second aspiration stems from her time in leadership positions. She has held various high profile, senior positions, working strategically at local, regional, and national levels in NHS organisations and with local authorities to develop and implement policy.

“We need more women, we need more people of colour in leadership positions, because honestly, if we don't – if we're not in those places, we're on the outside, just shouting and making a lot of noise,” she tells C+D.


“One of the things that I've learned from being involved in these high-profile things,” she adds, “[is] if you're on the outside, you're just having a conversation. Sometimes people listen, and they might make a little change. But there's nothing like being in the room and having a voice in the room.”

She says: “I think if you believe - if you truly, genuinely believe in something, it can be achieved.”


Listen to part 2 of the podcast episode to find out more about:

  • How older people can get better outcomes from their medicines and Ms Oboh hopes to drive leadership change
  • The biggest challenges Ms Oboh has faced
  • The importance of mentoring and how to find a mentor that best suits you


You can listen to the podcast above. Alternatively, follow C+D’s podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud


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