How long have you been a pharmacist?
I qualified in 2012 from Medway School of Pharmacy and passed my pre-reg exam in 2013. I trained in the hospital setting and since registering, I’ve focused on working as a pharmacist in secondary care.
What does your current working week look like?
I try to use as much of my time as possible to develop my businesses. I usually have 2 to 3 days solely devoted to the businesses and then use the other 2 days to locum as a means to keep my pharmacy skillset up to date.
Any free time after the usual 9-5 is also a chance to catch up with my businesses and use the time to develop new ideas and implement projects that have been completed over the past few weeks.
What has your business career involved so far?
Before I started my businesses, I had very little business acumen. I had heavily focused on my education and then, on my career as a pharmacist. I started my businesses out of a passion to develop useful tools for healthcare professionals and while that was intuitive to me, the day to day running of a business most certainly wasn’t.
I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills in order to turn my ideas into a business. Everything from team management to negotiate with stakeholders. Some of the skills that I have learnt have been pre-empted and taught to me but some skills can only be learnt on the job, it’s been a steep learning curve but one I’ve loved every minute of!
In terms of a chronology of events, my business career started with the formation of the companies and then the building of a team around them. As a new business with no cash flow, negotiating terms with 3rd party services was crucial and I learnt how to find people that believed in the business and who wanted to see it succeed.
After the right set of people were in place, it was time to move on to the development of the technology. Once launched, the businesses experienced rapid growth which meant there was lot more learning to do – public relations, marketing, sales and investor analysis all come to mind. It’s been a constant learning experience and I’ve found it’s all about taking the initial step and then adapting to reach the end goal.
Perhaps the highlight of my business career though has been the wonderful community of people that I’ve met within the pharmacy world. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet likeminded people that believe in making things better and devoting their time and energy to that belief.
Why did you feel the need to start the Locum Passport business?
Just before starting the Locum Passport, I had submitted a grant application for my first business, Future Pharmacy. With red tape galore and time passing by, I felt it was time to go back into the pharmacy world but I feared I wouldn’t be able to commit full time to a full-time role.
Locuming sounded it like it would provide me with the flexibility I needed. I joined my first agency and after a 3-hour slog, updating documents, completing my DBS check and undertaking my mandatory training, I was ready to go. Or so I thought. I found that my first agency offered my very few opportunities compared to all of the roles that were available.
After reading into how locum roles are offered out to agencies, I quickly realised that there was a major issue. A locum could join one agency and miss all the opportunities available but at the same time, joining new agencies and accessing more of these opportunities was made difficult due to the time pressures and agencies making it difficult to leave them for a new one.
If there was a way to join agencies quickly and easily, it would make the locum workforce as fluid as the roles they are there to fill. It would make my life as a locum easier and benefit the NHS by having staff in positions they are desperate to fill. It seemed like a win-win and so I went ahead and developed the technology, founded the business and published the app.