PCPA - Primary Care Pharmacy Association

About PPG


The Practice Pharmacy Group (PPG) - is a specialist group set up by the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA) to promote the sharing of best practice and to enable networking and medical education in this expanding area of primary care pharmacy. This group is open to all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians interested in this sector. The group has an expert UK steering group of experienced GP practice pharmacists. Each member of the steering group represents a region and has a GP advocate to support them in their role.


Ravi Sharma - Chair

Ravi Sharma

Programme Clinical Lead, Primary Care Transformation Team at NHS England and Lead GP Practice Pharmacist. GP Practice Partner.

"Currently there is a workforce crisis within general practice. The RCGP and The BMA has stated its fears of an impending GP workforce crisis amid a backdrop of dwindling practice nursing staff and a changing and increasing population with complex healthcare needs needing to be cared for within the NHS ethos ‘no decision about me, without me’. There is now the realisation that in pharmacists, the NHS has workforce more than capable of filling the void.

It gives me great pleasure and honour to be Chair of the Practice Pharmacist Group for the Primary Care Pharmacist Association (PCPA). This group has been created to help and support GPs and Practice Pharmacists across the nation. We hope to develop a number of resources, guidance's, documents and workshops to support you throughout your journey into general practice"

Ravi is the Clinical Lead pharmacist at NHS England for the pharmacists in general practice programmes, while holding several other honorary and advisory positions.


Ravi obtained his Masters in Pharmacy in 2011 and became a registered pharmacist in the UK in 2012. Since then, one of his key roles has been focussed on the development of ‘pharmacist-led clinics’ in general practice and integrating innovative pharmacy services across primary/secondary care. He has been responsible for developing pre-registration, junior and senior pharmacist roles within general practice and linking this work into local and national pharmacy workforce development strategies.

He has published several articles in reputable journals and is involved in several research projects around the impact of clinical pharmacy within primary care. Ravi is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society innovators forum and is spokesperson for the RPS. Ravi continues to work as a senior pharmacist prescriber in a GP practice one day a week in North London. More recently, he has been appointed to the council at The Royal Society of Medicine and is currently undertaking a Masters in Genomic Medicine at Imperial College London.

 Ravi is passionate about the profession and improving patient care

Rena Amin – Vice Chair

Rena Amin

Pharmacist & Managing Partner GP surgery, Associate Director NHS Greenwich CCG

Rena combines two key roles within her current portfolio. In her management role as an Associate Director (NHS Greenwich CCG), she leads on commissioning for medicines, pathway re- designs for LTC, and for the financial monitoring of medicines optimisation budgets. 

Rena is also a Managing Partner of Hartland Way Surgery where her role as a Clinical Associate provides a platform for undertaking medication reviews for patients with long-term conditions. As an Independent Prescriber she leads on all aspects of medicines optimisation including interface prescribing issues to liaison with multi-professional teams within the practice to enhance patient outcomes.  As one of the very few pharmacist partners in the UK, she has established that with appropriate training and entrepreneurship, patient care can be maximised by bringing a multidimensional professional overview. 
She has a keen interest in training and mentoring, improvement in clinical outcomes and preventative strategies. Her strengths are in corporate management and improving primary care by appropriately collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders including seeking patients’ perspective for better health outcomes. 
She is also an active member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Innovator’s Forum and through this remit passionately promotes the role of the practice based pharmacists and the outcomes achieved by this role.


Dr. Graham Stretch – London Lead

Graham Stretch

Award winning Senior Practice Pharmacist and director of Pharmacy Care Solutions

Graham trained as a pharmacist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, qualifying in 1993. He next worked at Liverpool School of Medicine on the pharmacokinetics of mesalazine in ulcerative colitis. His PhD (1997) at the Pharmacy and Medical Schools in Manchester, jointly with Glaxo, examined absorption of cardiac and anti-viral drugs. His Post-Doctoral research/teaching fellowship focused on the pharmacokinetics of HIV, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine drugs and antioxidants in olive oil at the School of Pharmacy, Adelaide, Australia.

Returning to the UK in 2000, Graham returned to primary care practice in Ealing, London where he developed a special interest in Elderly Care. Working jointly with general practitioners he developed integrated working to improve care in Nursing Homes and undertook consultancy work on behalf of Ealing CCG.

In 2010 Graham became a General Practice Pharmacist and is now the director and prescribing lead of a pharmacy team supporting seven GP practices and 23 nursing homes in Ealing. Graham has overarching responsibility for safe prescribing for more than 60,000 NHS patients and 1,200 nursing home patients. Graham is also prescribing lead of a leading internet pharmacy. In the last year this team has been recognised with a number of awards from the BMJ, PCPA, RPS and RCGP.

Graham worked with 17 practices and the GP Federation in Ealing, coordinating a successful bid for the NHS England Clinical Pharmacist pilot. Having been appointed as the Senior Pharmacist for the pilot site, Graham looks forward to playing a part in establishing a sustainable evidence base for the whole pharmacy team as an integral part of general practice.

Helen Kilminster - South Midlands Lead

GP Pharmacist, Worcestershire

Helen is a GP Pharmacist based in Malvern, South Worcestershire under the NHSE pilot scheme. Previously working as a GP Federation pharmacist for SW Healthcare as a supporting lead pharmacist for all 32 practices in South Worcestershire CCG. Helen has experiences in both hospital and community pharmacy also. Attained Postgraduate Clinical Pharmacy Diploma at Keele University in 2007. Independent Prescriber with specialist interest in palliative care and cancer care services. Currently undertaking a MSc. in Advance Clinical Practice at Worcester University.

"Pharmacists are unique healthcare professionals. Austerity pushes all elements of the NHS to its limits and forces us to think differently. Pharmacists need to embrace the change and move forward positively, confidently and proactively. Our attitudes affects leadership. Excellent patient care is multidimensional and we, as a profession, cannot afford to fail our patients."

Sadia Qayyum (MRPharmsS, PG Diploma, BSCPharm(hons)) – Northern Lead

Sadia Qayyum

Sadia holds three main roles in her portfolio covering a wide aspect of pharmacy. She currently holds positions in primary care in a GP practice, academia and community pharmacy.

As a lecturer at the University of Manchester, Sadia is involved in teaching undergraduates in Pharmacy Practice, as well as implementing a pilot of an innovative inter-professional scheme taking 4th year undergraduates to shadow her in her role as a practice pharmacist; this enables students to get an insight into a growing area of pharmacists working in a primary care setting.

Working as a community pharmacist for Well, Sadia is working as a Domiciliary Review Pharmacist as part of the Healthier Radcliffe scheme. This novel service utilises the skills of a pharmacist working in a collaborative partnership with GPs and social care providers for monitoring housebound and elderly patients.

As a non-patient facing pharmacist in a GP practice, Sadia uses her skills to process hospital discharges, handle prescription requests, complete medication reviews, consider medicines optimisation, resolve medication queries and much more.

Currently, Sadia is undertaking the Non-Medical Prescribing course at the University of Manchester and is looking forward to applying the new skills gained in the future.

Helen Hulme – North Midlands Lead

GP clinical Pharmacist, Arthur Medical Centre. MPP Associate, NICE

Helen is currently employed full time by a GP practice, where she has worked for the last 12 years. 
After qualifying, she spent some time in hospital pharmacy before moving to her first primary care role in the mid 90s. She ‘survived’ many reorganisations, leading Medicines Management teams for almost 15 years, with a focus on joint working with hospital and community pharmacy colleagues. 
In 2005 Helen was offered the role as clinical pharmacist by one of her local practices. She now works alongside a second clinical pharmacist providing expertise in medicines optimisation to the practice and its patients. As an independent prescriber she manages patients with a variety of long term conditions, especially those experiencing problematic polypharmacy, and takes a lead for the practice in respiratory and diabetes pathways. In 2008 she supported the practice in opening their adjoining community pharmacy business and was the superintendent pharmacist until recently. 
She has a keen interest in education and, through her work with NICE, supports the local MMT with regular educational sessions and resource development. 
Helen also acts as a clinical mentor for other practice-based pharmacists locally. 

Robin Conibere – Southern Lead

Robin Conibere

Practice Clinical Pharmacist, Beacon Medical Group, Plymouth

Robin Conibere is a Practice Pharmacist at Beacon Medical Goup, a large Group Practice in Plymouth and Devon. He has worked for the practice for 18 months and conducts clinics as part of the Urgent Care Team (with a GP, a Advanced Paramedic Practitioner and a Nurse Practitioner) to help manage "on the day workload" for the Group. 

He is an independent prescriber and also helps manage patients with long term conditions and Polypharmacy issues. Robin has a background in Community Pharmacy and is keen to integrate with all pharmacy sectors to improve patient care. Beacon Medical Group are a large Innovative Group of Practices who are looking to explore new ways of working in General Practice to provide better patient care and have recently been announced as a Primary Care Home Rapid Test Site. 
Robin believes that, in the future, all practices will come to appreciate the benefits of pharmacists working as part of a  multidisciplinary Primary Care team. He is an avid user of Social Media in Healthcare and his twitter handle is @PharmRJ

Kate Spittle – All Wales Lead

Kate Spittle

Lead precribing advisor-Localities, primary care, Cwn Taf LHB, University of Cardiff

Kate has worked in primary care since 2001 following experience in the pharmaceutical industry, community pharmacy and Cardiff university as a teacher practitioner. She qualified as a supplementary prescriber in 2004, completed the RCGP certificate in substance misuse in 2005 and became an independent prescriber in 2008. She completed the Diploma in Therapeutics at the medical school in Cardiff in 2014, winning the prize for the top academic performance.
Her role in primary care includes managing a small team of pharmacists and medicines management technicians to encourage and support good evidence based prescribing and to include the key lifestyle issues that impact on patient health and care. She is the primary care prescribing lead on diabetes and is involved in the development of guidelines for respiratory and pain therapeutics.
She is directly employed by two GP surgeries, and as a practice based pharmacist undertakes medication reviews, shared care prescribing and deals with medication queries on a wide variety of topics. Her current focus is the management of co-morbidities and the challenges that this brings for patients and healthcare professionals!
Kate is the acting director of the Diploma in Pharmacy Clinical Practice at Cardiff University and is module leader for the primary care module of the Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy. She has recently developed and led on an advanced practice module for primary care pharmacists to support the new cluster / neighborhood roles in Wales. 
“I am delighted at the recent developments in the role of pharmacists in primary care and am keen to support and develop this to these roles to ensure that the knowledge and skills of pharmacist are utilized to the utmost to enhance patient care.” 

Kerry Finlay- Northern Irish Lead

Kerry Finlay

Clinical Practice Pharmacist, Belfast

After spending what seemed like a lifetime as a 'saturday girl' in a pharmacy, being a pharmacist became my aspiration!  Little did I know!

I was successful in gaining a place at University of Nottingham & qualified as a pharmacist in 2000, with a detour around Chicago on the way.  I also hold a Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy, Independent Prescribing & currently completing an asthma diploma. 
Pre-reg & then a stint in various community pharmacies proved that community wasn't my area of interest.  A break into secondary care initially in the dispensary led to one of the first emergency department clinical pharmacist posts in Northern Ireland. Family commitments led to a change of track in 2007 & with a heavy heart I left the ED.  

Fortunately, my local GP practice had just advertised for a practice support pharmacist.  At the time I saw it as something to do until the time was right to step back to a clinical role in secondary care. How wrong I was! Currently I provide support to 8 practices in various guises- including IP clinics & clinical pharmacist support. The GP clinical pharmacist role has evolved significantly over time. I continue to implement innovative ways of working to improve prescribing & hence quality of care for patients. I passionately believe that these roles have been a game changer for primary care & will be at the heart of every GP practice as we become more established. 

The agreement for more consistent & greater funding in Northern Ireland is very welcome. I have been instrumental with 4 colleagues in establishing the NI Practice Pharmacists group,  allowing us share experience, best practice & discuss the roles going forward.

Helen Birchall MAPharmT - Technician Lead


Lead Pharmacy Technician
Helen qualified as a Pharmacy Technician at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital in 1999. She is a member of APTUK and holds SWMIT accreditations in Medicines Management and Final Accuracy Checking.  She has a wealth of knowledge and experience of working within the NHS having been employed in Acute Hospital Trusts across the UK for the majority of her career.  For the last few years Helen has worked in the Primary Care setting for Livewell Southwest in Plymouth and is currently working on developing a team of Innovative Pharmacy Technicians to work alongside Pharmacists in General practice.
Helen is delighted to be on the committee of the PCPA at this exciting time and looks forward to promoting and developing the new emerging roles for pharmacy technicians in General Practice and Primary care. She fully supports the creation of an integrated Pharmacy system across the wider NHS.

Zoe Girdis - Southern Lead

NICE Medicines Education Regional Technical Adviser – South and Channel Islands & CPPE Clinical Mentor for Pharmacists in General Practice (new national pilot)

Zoe Girdis, originally from ‘Down under’, is a Clinical Pharmacist and Independent Prescriber who has 20 years’ experience working as a specialised senior pharmacist. Zoe has worked in 3 different countries as a Community Pharmacist and Clinical Specialist.  Her current role is as NICE Regional Technical Adviser  supporting NICE Associates 3 days a week and then 2 days a week she is employed by 2 surgeries - Kirkland’s and Drayton servicing a population of 26000 patients . Zoe has been in this role & independently employed by the practice since 2006 leading and running clinics as a Prescriber in Cardiovascular Disease, Multimorbidity/Polypharmacy and multidisciplinary care home reviews.   She relishes this opportunity to provide shared decision making with patients in order to optimize patient outcomes. The practice role also includes education sessions for Clinical staff, Review of systems and processes (including Repeat Prescribing), QOF & CQUINS Clinical lead (where to alleviate pressures for clinicians and how to generate income from these opportunities).

Zoe teaches and consults on a variety of courses including those for non-medical prescribers and graduates at University of Southampton and University of Portsmouth as well as bespoke teaching for nurses, GPs and other allied health care professionals. She has clinically led Medicines Management Teams and supported, mentored and lead other medicines management colleagues in various guises. She is also a CPPE Clinical Mentor for GP Pharmacists Training Pathway Wave 1 Pilot.

NICE Medicines and Prescribing Associates work with local organisations and practitioners to support high quality, cost effective prescribing and use of medicines with a remit covering therapeutics, information mastery, shared decision-making, and the systems and processes involved in medicines optimisation.



Johnathan Laird - Scottish Lead

Community Pharmacist independent prescriber. Prescribe both in the GP setting and also the community pharmacy. Johnathan has interests in common clinical conditions, polypharmacy and also respiratory medicine.


Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scottish Pharmacy Board member. Editor of the online Pharmacy magazine PharmacyinPractice.scot.