Life as a consultant cancer pharmacist

steve williamson

Pharmacy has an important role to play regarding new and existing cancer treatments, we chat to Consultant Cancer Pharmacist and Chair of British Oncology Pharmacy Association, Steve Williamson MRPharmS (IPresc), MSc who explains his area of work in more detail.

What was your first contact with pharmacy as a profession?

When I was 16 I visited my local Hospital where my mum worked as an ITU nurse and met the clinical pharmacist who worked on her unit, after talking to him I decided that I wanted to be a hospital pharmacist.

What does your current role involve and how did you get there?

I’m consultant Cancer Pharmacist, for a large progressive NHS Trust Northumbria, and lead the Trust chemotherapy service, my job involves clinical work with cancer patients, as a prescriber, being responsible for the chemotherapy service and leading the pharmacy input into oncology. I also work for NHS England as a cancer pharmacist advising commissioners on how to get best value in cancer medicines for patients and NHS.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy the Variety my role brings, the chance to both work as part of a team, helping to set standards for chemotherapy and ensure patients get access to the best medicines. But the most satisfying part of the role is working directly with patients helping them manage their chemotherapy.

What is the best piece of advice you have for other pharmacists looking to get into a similar area?

Hospital pharmacy is varied with huge opportunities in many areas, there is great satisfaction in being a prescriber and making clinical decisions for the better of patients, oncology & chemotherapy is an area that most hospital pharmacies will provide training in, so my advice is to embrace it and look for opportunities to work directly with patients and then think about pursuing a specialist oncology pharmacy role.

‘You can visit BOPA www.bopawebsite.org, or the RPS faculty of Cancer Pharmacists to find out more about oncology pharmacy.

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