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Sixth form student joins pharmacy frontline during pandemic

By Isabel Shaw

12 May 2020

A sixth form student has joined the pharmacy frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic to help his local pharmacy team deal with the increased demand.

Har-Saivak Singh Gosal, 16, is currently studying for his A level exams, but since his college closed in mid-March, he has been volunteering at Smarta Healthcare in Bedford for three days a week – while still managing to fit his studies in.

‘I couldn’t just sit at home fiddling with my songs and watching Netflix while there is a crisis happening outside’, the student explained. ‘The primary care services, including doctors and pharmacists, even the delivery drivers, are working non-stop to try and keep the country on its feet. I just wanted to help out at the grassroots level in any way that I could’.

‘I love talking to the patients’

The sixth form pupil, currently studying Chemistry, Biology and Maths at Kimberley College, Bedford, spoke of how much he has enjoyed the patient-facing work in the pharmacy. ‘I love talking to the patients, they can really boost your morale, and likewise, you can boost their morale too!’ he said.

‘In some cases, you may be the only person they speak to all day,’ he added.

Along with pharmacy student Nirmal Kaur – who has also offered her services to the pharmacy – Mr Singh Gosal has been tasked with a variety of jobs, including ordering and dispensing medication and updating paperwork.

‘It has shown me the importance of pharmacy’

Ms Kaur is in her first year of Pharmacy at the University of Leicester and said that working in the pharmacy during the pandemic has been ‘an eye-opener,’ to what pharmacy is really about, and how her first-year skills work in practice.

‘It has also shown me the importance of pharmacy in the community,’ she said.

‘This experience has encouraged me, even more, to fulfil my ambition and become a qualified pharmacist.’

The pharmacy has also paid for Mr Singh Gosal to study for the dispensing qualification so that he can help out with dispensing procedures.

One of Mr Singh Gosal’s roles is to deliver medication to isolated patients, which he really enjoys.

‘It’s nice to talk to the people who are self-isolating. They’re so appreciative of what you’re doing, which is just really heartwarming.’

‘We are very grateful’

Harjinder Singh, co-founder of Smarta Healthcare, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome both Nirmal and Har-Saivak to the Smarta Healthcare team and have been extremely impressed with their dedication to work and their commitment to supporting the wider community during this global pandemic.’

‘Like many other pharmacies, Smarta Healthcare is working hard to fulfil patient demand whether delivering medication or offering advice over the phone, and so the support of both students came at a vital time, for which we are very grateful.’

What’s happening in your area? Contact Isabel at with any information that would be useful for us to share with community pharmacy colleagues

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