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Part one: My journey from community pharmacist to the director of medicines in a PCN

In his first instalment of a series with C+D, award-winning pharmacist Mohammad M Rahman talks about his pharmacy career journey…

After winning Pharmacist of the Year Award 2023 and General Practice Pharmacist of the Year 2023, along with being one of the first director of medicines and chief pharmacists in a primary care network (PCN), I received requests and interest from my peers, GP colleagues, other pharmacists and pharmacy students to share my journey in primary care.


I am an advocate of the pharmacy workforce and transformation in primary care and I believe pharmacy professionals in primary care are making a significant impact on improved patient outcomes. Pharmacists have become the success story of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) by demonstrating the delivery of expertise, safety and capacity in general practice.



My early career


My journey started in community pharmacy where I worked in all possible roles for more than 10 years, including and not limited to being: a healthcare advisor, dispenser, dispensary manager, pharmacist and pharmacist manager. I was first nominated for an award when I was a trainee pharmacist, for my clinical intervention to stop a GP from wrongly prescribing an antipsychotic instead of an anticoagulant (DOAC). It was considered a lifesaving intervention. Clinical acumen surfaced as one of my key strengths soon in my daily practice in community pharmacy…


Read more: How can pharmacy develop more female leaders?


I was a very switched-on pharmacist when it came to Medication Usage Review (MUR) in community pharmacy, so I was the regional and national flu vaccines champion for the large multiple I was working at. During my time in community pharmacy, I observed the General Practice Pilot that launched in 2014 to assess the pharmacist's impact in general practice, and being a forward-looking pharmacist, I recognised that the pharmacy profession was going to change meaningfully and drastically. The formation of PCNs and general practice contracts was indicative that pharmacists would be embedded into primary care on a large scale soon and would become a vital workforce along with other healthcare professionals.



Further studies and joining primary care


To prepare for the upcoming changes, I began focussing on my academic developments. I completed a postgraduate diploma in clinical pharmacy and independent prescribing (IP) while working in community pharmacy. In the early days of PCN formation, I joined one of the large PCNs as a clinical pharmacist and it has now been almost four years since I began working in primary care.


Read more: How Pharmacy First allowed me to save a patient from waiting at A&E

My journey in primary care has been very rewarding. I completed another postgraduate diploma in preventative cardiology and introduced a pharmacist-led preventative cardiology clinic in one of the general practices and PCNs. This approach not only expanded the clinic’s capacity within primary care but also improved patient access to the secondary care clinic. It also offered PCN patients improved access to specialist services. There are multiple examples whereby patients with resistant hypertension, statin rechallenge, or heart failure are being successfully managed in primary care thereby reducing the burden on secondary care and avoiding hospital admissions.


Mohammad M Rahman is the director of medicines and chief pharmacist at Ashford Medical Partnership

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