About the Practice Pharmacy Group

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.

Practice Pharmacy Group Committee

Helen Kilminster - Chair 

Helen Kilminster

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.”

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. 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.

Sadia Qayyum  – 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.

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

Zoe Girdis - Southern Lead

Zoe Girdis

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 optimise 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.

Kate Spittle – All Wales Lead

Kate Spittle

Lead prescribing 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 / neighbourhood 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 Pinney - Technician Lead

Technician Lead

Helen Pinney is the Lead Pharmacy Technician for twelve GP surgeries in West London. She oversees a team of pharmacy technicians and independent prescribing pharmacists who are responsible for the pharmaceutical care of community patients and twenty nursing homes in the area. She also frequently works as a locum in community pharmacy in order to stay in touch with the challenges faced in the community sector.

She is passionate about expanding technicians' roles to reflect their full potential and to complement the pharmacy profession as a whole, with an aim to achieving better and more patient centred care nationally.

Brendon Jiang – South West Lead

Practice Clinical Pharmacist

Brendon is a New Zealand trained and qualified pharmacist who registered in the UK in 2006. Before becoming a GP pharmacist, he worked in the community sector as a locum, store based pharmacist, store manager, area pharmacy manager and pharmacy superintendent.

Brendon has a number of roles across Somerset. He is a Phase 1 GPPTP practice pharmacist employed by the CLICK Federation. He provides patient facing clinics in 5 practices focusing on multi-morbidity, poly-pharmacy and de-prescribing. He also runs a domiciliary medication review service for a population of 50,000 patients. He continues to practice community pharmacy on weekends at Boots Wellington Medical Centre Pharmacy. In addition, he is the NICE Medicines and Prescribing Associate for Somerset and a member of the South West Local Professional Network.

Salmia Khan - South East Technician Lead

GP Pharmacy Technician

I started my pharmacy career when I was 17 in a local pharmacy, and worked my way up from there. I worked for Boots for 7 years, and completed my NVQ3 and ACPT training. I eventually became a store manager for 3 years before I left to work for North West Surrey CCG. This led me to my current role as a  GP Pharmacy Technician based in Woking. I have trained as a phlebotomist and have completed training to administer vaccines. I also run an anticoagulant clinic once a week. I lead on medicines reconciliation for the practice and develop CQC/Practice policies to help implement medicines management processes


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