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Checkit Marketing Jun 10, 2020 4:03:00 PM 6 min read

Managing pharmacy operations in one of the UK’s busiest NHS Trusts

Healthcare services depend on a huge range of professionals, some of whom are one step away from the public eye but no less important in their contribution to patient outcomes.

We want to shine a light on the hidden heroes of healthcare to understand their work, the challenges they face and the sense of purpose that keeps them contributing to the best possible patient outcomes.

At Checkit, our goal is to empower these professionals and their teams with digital tools to reduce their manual burden, support them in conducting routine activities and provide greater visibility to drive better ways of working.

Samantha Quaye is Pharmacy Performance and Business Manager at Barts Health NHS Trust, one of the largest NHS Trusts in England. The Trust serves a population of 2.6m people across five hospitals and numerous other localised healthcare facilities including birthing centres.

Samantha joined the Trust in February 2019. She is Inclusion Ambassador for Barts’ Health and BME Staff Network Site Lead (Ally) for Royal London Hospital and Mile End Hospital. She created and established the Pharmacy Technician Theatre at Clinical Pharmacy Congress, the UK’s largest conference for Pharmacy Professionals. She is a Fellow of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) and was elected as a Public Governor of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust.


Samantha Quaye  Pharmacy Operations

Key responsibilities

  • Manage the development and delivery of business cases and SLAs
  • Support the successful delivery of quality improvement and cost improvement plans
  • To drive strategic growth
  • To work with clinical teams to ensure that clinical safety is maintained alongside the business integrity of the service
  • To develop, monitor and report KPIs to improve performance of pharmacy services

What’s involved in a typical day?

On a day-to-day basis I support the operational delivery of the pharmacy service through behind-the-scenes work, ranging from ordering equipment to developing strategy. My administrative tasks include planning meeting agendas, processing overtime shifts, ordering equipment, supporting recruitment and other administrative tasks. I also undertake business functions such as regularly reviewing our financial performance, monitoring contracts and identifying commercial income streams. Additionally, I work with the Senior Leadership Team to develop and improve key aspects of our service by monitoring of performance, acting on feedback and adopting innovative practice for the benefit of people who use our services and for members of our team.

What motivates you?

All industries have their challenges and healthcare is no exception. What makes healthcare unique is knowing that no matter what your role is, from cleaner to chief exec, we all have an impact on patient safety and experience. The majority of people who work in our NHS embarked on their journey because they care about people, want to give back to society and believe in the principles on which the NHS was founded.  My personal motivations for continuing to work in healthcare are to ‘pay it forward’ because the NHS has given me and my family so much. I want to improve the experience for people who need to use NHS services because there are so many possibilities to make improvements that will benefit everyone.

What makes healthcare unique is knowing that no matter what your role is, from cleaner to chief executive, we all have an impact on patient safety and experience
Samantha Quaye, Pharmacy Performance and Business Manager


How does it feel to be a hidden hero?

I am really pleased to have been given the opportunity to talk about my role and grateful for the recognition of its value. It is not a patient-facing job but many aspects of it interlink with frontline practitioners. There are many people in healthcare who operate in roles that are often invisible to the general public and other members of the team, so I am pleased that it is possible to highlight this from a pharmacy perspective.

How would you help others understand your role?

In order to successfully carry out this role, one needs a breadth of experience in a variety of areas such as organisational policy and process; regulatory, legislative and NHS requirements; project/people management and operational performance monitoring. I would like others to know that this role is multi-faceted and often interfaces with people at all levels of the organisation. It may not be immediately obvious that it is an essential role but, much like a car’s suspension, many parts of the machine would not be able to operate as safely or effectively if others had to assume responsibility for these core functions.

What are your biggest challenges?

Firstly, funding. In the NHS we work on a shoestring and have to demonstrate a robust case for return on investment every time we need to spend money. This is sometimes difficult to achieve when a system or piece of equipment will add value by improving quality or safety, rather than direct cost savings or income. Secondly, the interoperability of systems. There are multiple software programs and applications that are used on a daily basis that interlink processes but the systems do not talk to each other. Thirdly, communication. In such a large organisation where there is a significant amount of information to cascade and escalate, it can be difficult to ensure that people receive the right messages at the right time in order to act on them.

Tech and digital tools make my work much more efficient than it would have been in the past when trying to manually collate, input and interpret audits and information from other sources.Samantha Quaye
Pharmacy Performance and Business Manager

How does technology support you in your work?

Tech and digital tools are increasingly helpful in healthcare. In my role, monitoring performance and ensuring smooth running of services is enhanced by use of online platforms that provide data analytics so that trends can be identified and anomalies can be accounted for. This makes my work much more efficient than it would have been in the past when trying to manually collate, input and interpret audits and information from other sources. The Checkit temperature monitoring system is a prime example of technology that enhances the user experience and directly impacts on efficiency, safety and consistency of the service. There’s no more relying on an individual to remember to check a thermometer and log the temperature on a piece of paper or input into a spreadsheet.

What future challenges do you anticipate over the course of the next 12 months?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges within healthcare and beyond. And it will continue to present challenges for the foreseeable future. The economic impact will be felt within the NHS and wider healthcare economy for some time to come and this will amplify the funding challenges we were already facing. It will also have a knock-on effect on people’s social situations and will likely further highlight the health inequalities across London and the UK. This brings challenges within pharmacy in terms of being able to adapt how we deliver services to our patient populations in order to meet their needs.

What can be done to overcome these challenges?

At a local level, we may need to develop innovative practices and digital tools to support equal access to pharmaceutical care. This could be in the form of monitoring systems that send results directly to clinicians, for example, blood pressure readings taken in the home that are sent directly by the patient to the hypertension clinic. The resulting advice about adjusting medication or lifestyle would be translated into other languages or pictograms, where appropriate, to relay messages about clinical care back to patients in their homes.


Checkit Marketing

Content & Communications Manager at Checkit