Sapna Gohil is the Lead Pharmacist for High Cost Drugs and Homecare services at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?
I studied gastroenterology during my Postgraduate Clinical Pharmacy Diploma and had the opportunity to cover a gastroenterology ward rotation as part of my junior pharmacist post. Experiences across both medical and surgical areas sparked my interest to explore further into this diverse specialist field. During this time, I also worked for a homecare service provider as a pharmacist working in Enhanced Patient Services, ensuring patients in receipt of biologic home deliveries were safely monitored. My passion for this speciality intensified when I joined the Parenteral Nutrition Steering Committee and qualified as an Independent Prescriber in Colorectal Surgery during my time at Kettering General Hospital. The prescribing course equipped me with a specific skill set in diagnostics and practical examinations, enabling me to become more confident and autonomous in my practice. My current role as Lead Pharmacist for High Cost Drugs and Homecare services at a large acute teaching hospital enables me to sustain an ongoing integral link to gastroenterology, in particular complex Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) conditions requiring high cost biologic treatments.
What advancement in gastroenterology/hepatology are you most excited about and why?
The expansion of homecare services and pharmaceutical advancements in biologic medicines for IBD, I find most interesting. As a High Cost Drug Pharmacist with good experience in supporting the management of these treatments, I am particularly drawn to this sub-specialty within gastroenterology. In addition, homecare service provision has been a fast evolving area over the last 10 years. The inelasticity in demand for better care closer to home has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, as many patients are shielding/self-isolating at home. Delivery of certain medications direct to a patient’s home with various patient support programmes has multiple advantages. However, it is imperative to ensure critical appraisal of both clinical and cost-effective aspects when adopting such initiatives. As a member of the NHSEI Midlands High Cost Drugs Forum and Regional West Midlands Homecare team, I enjoy networking and sharing best practice to keep abreast of innovative new developments in this specialist area. At the start of the pandemic, BSG published helpful guidance in regard to the need for specialists to identify patients on immunosuppressive medications who may require shielding information. I look forward to the establishment of Integrated Care Systems across the national health economy, especially integrated care records, to improve digital connectivity and rapidly support such future practices.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I thoroughly enjoy the breadth of independent and team working opportunities which exist in my current role. My work enables me to engage with various stakeholders such as Commissioners and the Trust Clinical and Finance teams to drive patient-centric service improvements.
What is the one thing you would change?
It is fantastic to see clinical specialities becoming more familiar with the role of a High Cost Drug Pharmacist and I hope in the future the benefits of this role are more widely understood. It is a complex, niche role, however a unique one with great potential as an effective liaison between the commissioner and clinical teams to ensure clinical and cost-effective review of upcoming high cost drug treatments. The role can help to ensure high cost drug therapies are prescribed the ‘NICE’ way whilst keeping up to date with the latest BSG guidance.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
We are always encouraged. Organisational change is inevitable, as demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic. I had the privilege of exploring this concept whilst completing a leadership course. I am drawn to the following quote from Andre Gide, a French novelist as it feels quite apt considering recent unprecedented times; ‘One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.’
When leading transition during times of change, it is clear we may need to accept a temporary halt in existing norms before embarking on new beginnings.
What does being a BSG member mean to you?
The BSG is a pioneer for supporting the effective practice of evidence-based medicine in gastroenterology. Being a member of this globally recognised organisation is an honour.