JOIN The UK's Largest
Primary Care Pharmacy Network

About the Care Homes Group

The Care Homes Group has been set up to support all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with an interest in this area of practice. The group is run by an expert national steering committee.

This group will:

  1. Promote Best Practice
  2. Facilitate the sharing of resources
  3. Enable networking
  4. Provide Medical Education


  1. The sign posting, sourcing and development of resources
  2. The national forum
  3. National events/workshops

How does PCPA support members? 

PCPA provides support with relevant, practical resources. These are continuously updated and easily searchable. The huge library of resources are available to PCPA members.

We provide regular events so our members can network with each other, share best practice techniques, showcase talents with posters and obtain practical skills attending workshops at these events.

PCPA committee provide and moderate the fantastic telegram support network. This platform allows peer to peer support to all working within the primary care pharmacy field. 

To join is less than £1 a week! 


Care Homes Group Committee

Primary Care Technicians Group Committee

The Aims and Objectives of the PCPA Pharmacy Technicians group:

To provide a network for Pharmacy Technicians to share information, best practice and offer peer support to each other; enabling the Pharmacy Team to work at the top of their licence collaboratively across all areas of primary care. 

Care Homes Group Committee


Dr Graham Stretch - PCPA President & Chair 

Graham Stretch

Award winning Senior Practice Pharmacist and director of Pharmacy Care Solutions

“I am delighted to take on the Chairship of the PCPA Care Homes Group. This sector is my passion.
I am determined that policy makers recognise and support the need for a dedicated pharmacy team providing clinical services to every care home resident.”

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.

Dr Wasim Baqir - Vice Chair & Northern Lead

Wasim Baqir

Lead Pharmacist for the Northumberland PACS Vanguard

He is leading an integrated team of pharmacists and technicians, working collaboratively with doctors, nurses, social care and other professionals to develop and test services for patients across Northumberland. Prior to this, he was the R&D and Quality Improvement pharmacist, leading on several projects including the Shine project; optimising medicines in care homes.

He is an Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN) Innovation Scout and holds an Honorary Research Fellow position at Bradford University Pharmacy School. He has a passion for quality improvement and sits on the Trust’s Quality Laboratory and has been recently was successful in joining the Health Foundation’s Generation Q Network. Nationally, he is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Innovators’ Forum and the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists National Professional Committee.


Helen Whiteside MRPharmS IP - Northern Lead

Helen Whiteside

Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist, NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group

Helen Whiteside is a pharmacist with over 24 years experience of working in NHS organisations. She has worked in partnership and provided support to GPs and other health and social care professionals, care homes; and patients and families through holistic medication reviews for older people living in care homes for over 5 years.

She is currently employed by NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group as a Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist where she uses her expert clinical practice in 7 GP practices to provide these reviews for people living in care homes and those who are not but are identified as at risk from polypharmacy.

Her role in the CCQ is to lead clinical pharmacy for older people, care homes and those living with dementia. She links with local medicines safety team and commissioners to improve the quality of care in Leeds care homes. She is the professional lead for the medicines optimisation team element of the CCG’s GP-led integrated care home scheme having been part of the team who successfully implemented and delivered a cost effective medication review service for the CCG in the previous 2 years. Helen is an independent prescriber whose passions are care of the older people, safe and effective medicines systems to deliver medicines and patient safety; and management of polypharmacy through medicines optimisation and Deprescribing. She collaborates with other key national leaders to advocate for pharmacists as medicines experts to be considered fundamental members of multidisciplinary teams and to realise the vision of clinical pharmacists based in the community and care homes delivering direct patient care. She is a member of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS), Primary Care Pharmacists Association (PCPA) and its’ care home group, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), a committee member of the Care of the Elderly subgroup of the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) and contributed to the NICE medicines management in care homes guidance.

Lisa Drinkwater - CQC & Northern Lead

Lisa Drinkwater

Prescribing Support Pharmacist

“I am very excited to be CQC Lead for the Care Homes Group and Secretary of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA). I have been involved working with care homes in various roles for many years. Currently I provide medicines management support to care homes and domiciliary agencies in Blackpool working with the Council and I am also a Specialist Advisor for Care Quality Commission.
Much has been written recently about better utilisation of pharmacy professionals' skills in care homes to bring significant benefits and improved health outcomes to this population. We have also seen a number of reports highlighting the problems which surround safe medicines management in care homes.
The creation of the Care Homes Forum Group is timely given the current national focus around care homes. We are extremely fortunate to have an excellent steering committee for the group with a wealth of experience. This group has been created to help and support pharmacists and technicians whatever your role is working with care homes.
We hope to signpost you to useful resources from across the country, discuss best practice guidance within the forum and provide stimulating workshops with a practical focus to help you with your day to day job.”

Cherise Gyimah (Howson) - London Lead

Cherise Howson

Senior Care Homes & Practice Pharmacist

Cherise Gyimah (Howson, MPharm PGDip MRPharmS, Care Homes Pharmacist, Croydon CCG and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, NICE Medicines and Prescribing Centre Associate

Cherise has a background in Community Pharmacy, after joining the NHS in 2009 she worked as a Practice Support Pharmacist and a Prescribing Advisor. She currently works as a Care Homes Pharmacist, providing clinical leadership to ensure optimisation of medicines in care homes across Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark. She has a keen interest in patient safety and developing people.

John Dicomidis - Welsh Lead


Care Home Governance Pharmacist 

Since graduating I have worked both in the Hospital (in the UK and in the Middle East) and community sectors, (large multinational companies through to Independents).

At present I am part of the Nursing Home Governance team working with 50 Nursing Homes within Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB). My role is to help Nursing Homes to comply with Aneurin Bevan and NICE SC1 legislation and requirements. I identify issues the Homes may have in meeting the required standards and work with them to produce resources which can then be used by other homes.

I have developed a strong working relationship with a number of other HCP’s to reinforce good practice i.e. Mental Health team and antipsychotic use etc.

Part of the role is using innovation and IT to help improve the safe and effective administration of medication. I have worked with the Bevan Commission to pilot a scheme to reduce waste in Care Homes and this has now been rolled out across the Health Board. I am also a member of the Q community and the All Wales task group looking at the use of eMAR systems in Care Homes.



Helen Pinney - 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.

Primary Care Technicians Group Committee

Salmia Khan - Chair & South East Lead

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


Helen Belben - South West Lead

BSc (Hons), RegPharmTech, MAPharmT, MAPCPharm,
Helen is the Lead Medicines Management Technician for a group of GP practices in South Somerset.
Previously employed as the Medicines Optimisation Lead at the South West Academic Health Science Network, she supported pharmacy colleagues across several Acute Trusts, LPCs and CCGs. Helen brings valuable experience of previous GP Practice roles and of self-employment with Somerset CCG Medicines Management team.
She obtained a BSc (Hons) with the Open University which includes an FdSc in Medicines Management from Portsmouth University. Before this, she spent many happy years in community pharmacy, beginning as a counter assistant in 1983, qualifying as a Pharmacy Technician in 1990 and attaining ACT in 2006.


Shelley Mannion- Northern Lead

Shelley is a Pharmacy Technician with 15 years experience across Community Pharmacy, Primary Care, General Practice and Academia. Her interest in clinical pharmacy began in Primary Care, delivering medicines optimisation across general practice. This led Shelley to a team of healthcare providers, specialising in care homes. 

Whilst facilitating the use of medicines in care homes, Shelley completed her Clinical Diploma. This inspired her to be a part of Pharmacy Technician learning and education. She currently holds a post in mentoring and educating pharmacy professionals nationally.  

Shelley’s vision for the future is to influence the learning opportunities available to Pharmacy Technicians, ensuring training and education is appropriate to individual service requirements. 


Sophie Liggat- Midlands Lead

After studying for her BSc(Hons) Science Degree, Sophie realised her part time university job working in Pharmacy was her passion. Sophie qualified as a Pharmacy Technician whilst working in Community in 2006. She is a member of APTUK and holds NPA accreditations for Final Accuracy Checking and is currently embarking on a BTEC Level 4 Professional Diploma in Pharmacy Clinical Services.

Over her 16 years working in community pharmacy she has collated vast knowledge and experience by working from a grass roots position to that of Accuracy Checking Technician and Dispensary Management. She fully understands the variety and constraints on Pharmacy Technicians in a community setting. Currently she is working for Gloucestershire CCG as a Practice Support Pharmacy Technician, working alongside National Pilot Pharmacists to look at the benefits that Pharmacy Technicians can make to General Practice.

"I am thrilled to be appointed as Midlands Lead for the PCPA Pharmacy Technician Group. Today is an exciting time for Pharmacy Technicians as our role widens and expands across all healthcare platforms, I am looking forward to supporting Pharmacy Technicians and helping them develop as they engage with the variety of positions now available to them”