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‘A duty to our patients’

Hospital pharmacists give patients same service every day
Hajera Blagg, Thursday, December 21st, 2017

In Part 4 of our series on working over Christmas, we speak to Dr Wasim Baqir, a pharmacist.


Wasim works as a national lead in pharmacy for NHS care homes but he also works on the wards at a hospital trust in Northumberland, which is what he’ll be doing this year over Christmas.


“What’s changed over the years is that we have a much older patient population with more complex needs. We’re working with limited resources given the current climate of underfunding so the job has definitely become much more stressful,” he explains.


Still, Wasim enjoys the team work aspect of his job – he says everyone works together effectively and efficiently to make sure each patient receives the best care possible.


“It’s also rewarding to know that your job makes a difference,” he notes.


Does working over Christmas bother him?


“No not at all – I’m actually really comfortable with it. We provide a seven-day service and Christmas is no different than any other day when you’re ill.


“We realise we have an important job and we have a duty toward our patients. People who work in health care understand this.”


Supportive family

Of course, it’s sad to miss out on spending time with family and friends over the holidays Wasim says, but his family is supportive of him.


“And working over Christmas and other bank holidays is always shared among the team,” he adds. “We have a fair system of allocating who works which holidays. I’m working over Christmas this year but another colleague will work next year.”


This Christmas, Wasim will be doing what he does normally when he works on the wards – he’ll be checking to make sure patients’ medicines are correct and will be working together with doctors to support their decisions among other duties.


He says the times that he has worked over Christmas have all been positive.


“Those of use working on Christmas all come together and try to make the best of the situation – there’s always a really jovial atmosphere.”


Wasim believes it’s important for people – especially those in management – to recognise the hard work that so many people do over Christmas and throughout the year.


“I think people should definitely spare a thought for those of us who have given up an important part of our personal lives to care for others,” he explains. “We don’t do it for anything except for the fact that it’s the right thing to do but recognition for it is always appreciated.


“Most people might not need our services over Christmas but you never know – some day you might.


“We also hope that management too recognises the hard work we do, especially now working under increasingly stressful conditions as funding for the health service diminishes.”


He praised all Unite members for their hard work this year.


“We should all be proud of what we’ve accomplished.”


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