NHS Hero: Raj Pandya

From an early age, he knew he wanted to carry out a clinical role as his career and so Deputy Chief Pharmacist, Raj Pandya, aged 31 from Lichfield, did just that.

Now in his eighth year as a pharmacist, Raj has spent his entire career within the NHS and has been passionate about being a pharmacist since the very beginning.

Raj told us why: “Whilst I was studying for my A-levels, I had the opportunity to shadow pharmacists in hospital and see the amazing work they do – from then on I just knew I wanted to follow in the same footsteps.

“I really saw how much of an advocate for patients the pharmacists were and that’s what really inspired me to undertake my master of pharmacy degree at Keele University.”

Once Raj completed his degree, he then moved onto his one-year pre-registration placement at Queen’s Hospital in Burton which consisted of working alongside pharmacists gaining practical experience.

From that point onwards, Raj’s career went from strength to strength holding such roles as junior clinical pharmacist, mental health pharmacist, specialist pharmacist in GU and infectious diseases, locum pharmacist roles, clinical lead, and as of this month, deputy chief pharmacist for DWMH.

Throughout Raj’s career he has done everything pharmacy related from various clinical and dispensary roles to building and developing his own pharmacy team; he says: “Pharmacists are the true experts in the field of medicines.”

Raj still likes to keep his hand in with the practice, for example, he is still carries out banks shifts at Queen’s Hospital in Burton.

He said: “I think it’s really important as a leader to keep your ear to the ground and understand what’s happening as it helps me to continually develop not only in a personal sense but to benefit my team.”

Raj has had many highlights throughout his career but there are two particular highlights that stuck out for him: becoming a non-medical prescriber in 2018 and successfully bagging the role of deputy chief pharmacist for DWMH.

Another aspect of the role that Raj enjoys is getting involved with the Trust’s staff networks as he is passionate about equality and diversity.

Raj is part of both the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) network and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer (LGBTQ) network and is excited to make a difference.

He told us: “I think the NHS as an organisation needs to represent the communities it serves and I really don’t believe that your background should have an impact on your personal or work life so that’s the message I want to give out as part of the staff network.”

So what is Raj’s next big challenge?

“I think my next big challenge is around developing the pharmacy workforce and also working more closely with community teams and then seeing how it all comes together as we look to merge with Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.”

Raj’s mental health message: “Don’t compare yourself to others. You do you and be fabulous.”