Meet Ben Marks who returned to practice at BEH to help during the pandemic

Date: 25 August 2020

Ben Marks

Ben Marks was working for a healthcare consultancy and technology company when he responded to the call for healthcare staff to return to the NHS to help during the pandemic. He joined the BEH Pharmacy Team and says “I am planning to stay as long as I am wanted and can be useful. The culture and people at BEH are fantastic!”

How did you come to join the BEH Pharmacy team?

Around the time lockdown was introduced, the government implemented plans to bring back doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare staff to help support NHS services. I volunteered because I wanted to help patients and the NHS in any way I could, and I knew there could be lots of staff off sick and shielding, leaving services in need.

After registering, the service was designed to place returning staff at the best location based on skills and needs. After several discussions, I received a call from Katherine Delargy from pharmacy at BEH, and I accepted the offer to join the Trust as a returning clinical pharmacist. I decided to take the offer because there was a clear need, and I felt that BEH would be a good match to my availability and clinical experience. Fortunately, I was fully supported by my employer Methods Analytics.

What were you doing before and what is your role now?

Since I joined BEH, I have been working on Fridays at the Trust, getting familiar with procedures, the specialised clinical services that Pharmacy offer, and becoming operational with the clinical aspects after a bit of a break from hospital pharmacy.

In addition to working as a pharmacist at BEH, I continue to spend the rest of the week at my existing employer, Methods Analytics. We do lots of weird and wonderful things with data, helping out a range of NHS programmes and organisations and promoting evidence-based decision making to help patient services operate as well as they can. I also undertake work further afield in other areas like defence and the pharmaceutical industry.

I joined the team in May and I am planning to stay as long as I am wanted and can be useful.

How did you feel before starting the role?

Humbled is the best word to describe it. I was also cautiously excited about getting back into clinical work but mindful of the fact that I hadn’t worked in a hospital for a while. I knew that it would require a fair bit of time and effort to get comfortable with the mental health clinical aspects, the processes and ways of working at the Trust.

What has your experience of the role been like?

So far, it has been really good. I started focussing on the procedures and processes at BEH, and then gradually began helping out with some ward rounds and becoming increasingly familiar with the clinical aspects of mental health pharmacy. As pharmacists act as medicines advisors as part of the clinical team, as well as simply providing medicines, returning to practice has required familiarisation with several areas. These include the BEH dispensing and medicines supply aspects, legal issues, and a range of medical information sources to assist with prescribing advice and clinical aspects.

I’ve met some great new colleagues and reconnected with some from the past. I have to say that the culture and people at BEH are fantastic, and I’ve truly been made to feel welcome and supported so it’s great that I am able to share my experience with others in this way.

  • Summary:

    Ben Marks was working for a healthcare consultancy and technology company when he responded to the call for healthcare staff to return to the NHS to help during the pandemic. He joined the BEH Pharmacy Team and says “I am planning to stay as long as I am wanted and can be useful. The culture and people at BEH are fantastic!”