Meet Justin Soon who joined BEH under NHS Return to Practice programme

Date: 21 July 2020

Justin Soon

Justin Soon is currently working as a Management Consultant but when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, he felt compelled to help out in any way he could.

Justin put his name forward under the NHS Return to Practice programme and was offered a role working at BEH as a clinical pharmacist. He says: “I’d forgotten how resilient those working in the NHS are, still so friendly and helpful even in these difficult times.”

How did you come to join the BEH Pharmacy? 

When the country went into lockdown due to the pandemic, I would often hear stories on the news about the increasing numbers of deaths, including NHS staff who were helping to battle this virus, and about how the NHS was struggling to cope with overwhelming numbers of cases. I used to work in the NHS (albeit a long time ago) and still have a lot of friends there so felt compelled to help out in any way that I could. I provided my name to the NHS under the Return to Practice Programme and was offered a role to help out at the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust as a clinical pharmacist

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

Since leaving the NHS about 10 years ago, I’ve been working in the pharmaceutical industry, and have just this year completed my Masters in Health Economics. Currently I am working part-time as a Management Consultant at WPP Health Practice, where I support projects with drug manufacturers aimed at improving access to medicines, which has allowed me to support the NHS during the pandemic on a one day a week basis. 

My role in the NHS is as a clinical pharmacist at St Ann’s Hospital helping out on the wards and in dispensary. I am also trained in Good Clinical Practice, the international ethical, scientific and practical standard for clinical research, so have been able to help out with the administration of some clinical trials too.

How did you feel before starting the role?

To be honest, I was just very keen to help out in any way that I could. Of course, I was aware that I could be placing myself in a higher risk environment, particularly as I had seen all the problems with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply in the media, so I had questions about whether adequate protection would be available. However, all my concerns were addressed and I was very happy to join the team at St Ann’s Hospital.

What has your experience of the role been like?

My experience so far has been really great, and a big part of that is due to the Pharmacy team at St Ann’s. Initially, I was a little anxious that my clinical knowledge had disappeared after several years of not practising, but everyone has been extremely welcoming and supportive and really made me feel like part of the team from day one.

I’d forgotten how resilient those working in the NHS are, still so friendly and helpful even in these difficult times. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I hope I’ve managed to make a difference in at least some way or another!