About the Care Homes Group

The Care Homes Group has been set up to support all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with an interest in this area of practice. The group is run by an expert national steering committee.

This group will:

  1. Promote Best Practice
  2. Facilitate the sharing of resources
  3. Enable networking
  4. Provide Medical Education


  1. The sign posting, sourcing and development of resources
  2. The national forum
  3. National events/workshops

If you would like to join please fill in the application form on our join page. Please note that there is a nominal fee for joining PCPA Groups of £48 which will allow you access to all groups, website resources, forums and events for the year. 

Care Homes Group Committee

Dr Graham Stretch - Chair & London Lead

Graham Stretch

Award winning Senior Practice Pharmacist and director of Pharmacy Care Solutions

“I am delighted to take on the Chairship of the PCPA Care Homes Group. This sector is my passion.
I am determined that policy makers recognise and support the need for a dedicated pharmacy team providing clinical services to every care home resident.”

Graham trained as a pharmacist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, qualifying in 1993. He next worked at Liverpool School of Medicine on the pharmacokinetics of mesalazine in ulcerative colitis. His PhD (1997) at the Pharmacy and Medical Schools in Manchester, jointly with Glaxo, examined absorption of cardiac and anti-viral drugs. His Post-Doctoral research/teaching fellowship focused on the pharmacokinetics of HIV, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine drugs and antioxidants in olive oil at the School of Pharmacy, Adelaide, Australia.

Returning to the UK in 2000, Graham returned to primary care practice in Ealing, London where he developed a special interest in Elderly Care. Working jointly with general practitioners he developed integrated working to improve care in Nursing Homes and undertook consultancy work on behalf of Ealing CCG.

In 2010 Graham became a General Practice Pharmacist and is now the director and prescribing lead of a pharmacy team supporting seven GP practices and 23 nursing homes in Ealing. Graham has overarching responsibility for safe prescribing for more than 60,000 NHS patients and 1,200 nursing home patients. In the last year this team has been recognised with a number of awards from the BMJ, PCPA, RPS and RCGP.

Graham worked with 17 practices and the GP Federation in Ealing, coordinating a successful bid for the NHS England Clinical Pharmacist pilot. Having been appointed as the Senior Pharmacist for the pilot site, Graham looks forward to playing a part in establishing a sustainable evidence base for the whole pharmacy team as an integral part of general practice.

Dr Wasim Baqir - Vice Chair &Northern Lead

Wasim Baqir

Lead Pharmacist for the Northumberland PACS Vanguard

He is leading an integrated team of pharmacists and technicians, working collaboratively with doctors, nurses, social care and other professionals to develop and test services for patients across Northumberland. Prior to this, he was the R&D and Quality Improvement pharmacist, leading on several projects including the Shine project; optimising medicines in care homes.

He is an Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN) Innovation Scout and holds an Honorary Research Fellow position at Bradford University Pharmacy School. He has a passion for quality improvement and sits on the Trust’s Quality Laboratory and has been recently was successful in joining the Health Foundation’s Generation Q Network. Nationally, he is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Innovators’ Forum and the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists National Professional Committee.

Ashley Cohen - Community Pharmacy Lead

Managing Director, Pharm-Assist (Healthcare) Ltd

Ashley Cohen is the owner of an award-winning group of Pharmacies in Yorkshire. Ashley has successfully secured a number of NHS contracts to supply pharmaceutical advice and supply to Intermediate care units, prison contracts, along with traditional nursing and residential care homes. Along with pharmaceutical advice and supply Ashley has an active nationwide training programme to support care homes with bespoke training and consultancy on medicines management.

Before running his own business, Ashley completed a health focused MBA and spent 7 years working at Health Authority level as a Pharmaceutical Adviser, and also worked in healthcare consultancy. 

Helen Whiteside MRPharmS IP - Northern Lead

Helen Whiteside

Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist, NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group

Helen Whiteside is a pharmacist with over 24 years experience of working in NHS organisations. She has worked in partnership and provided support to GPs and other health and social care professionals, care homes; and patients and families through holistic medication reviews for older people living in care homes for over 5 years.

She is currently employed by NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group as a Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist where she uses her expert clinical practice in 7 GP practices to provide these reviews for people living in care homes and those who are not but are identified as at risk from polypharmacy.

Her role in the CCQ is to lead clinical pharmacy for older people, care homes and those living with dementia. She links with local medicines safety team and commissioners to improve the quality of care in Leeds care homes. She is the professional lead for the medicines optimisation team element of the CCG’s GP-led integrated care home scheme having been part of the team who successfully implemented and delivered a cost effective medication review service for the CCG in the previous 2 years. Helen is an independent prescriber whose passions are care of the older people, safe and effective medicines systems to deliver medicines and patient safety; and management of polypharmacy through medicines optimisation and Deprescribing. She collaborates with other key national leaders to advocate for pharmacists as medicines experts to be considered fundamental members of multidisciplinary teams and to realise the vision of clinical pharmacists based in the community and care homes delivering direct patient care. She is a member of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS), Primary Care Pharmacists Association (PCPA) and its’ care home group, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), a committee member of the Care of the Elderly subgroup of the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) and contributed to the NICE medicines management in care homes guidance.

Lisa Drinkwater - CQC & Northern Lead

Lisa Drinkwater

Prescribing Support Pharmacist

“I am very excited to be CQC Lead for the Care Homes Group and Secretary of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA). I have been involved working with care homes in various roles for many years. Currently I provide medicines management support to care homes and domiciliary agencies in Blackpool working with the Council and I am also a Specialist Advisor for Care Quality Commission.
Much has been written recently about better utilisation of pharmacy professionals' skills in care homes to bring significant benefits and improved health outcomes to this population. We have also seen a number of reports highlighting the problems which surround safe medicines management in care homes.
The creation of the Care Homes Forum Group is timely given the current national focus around care homes. We are extremely fortunate to have an excellent steering committee for the group with a wealth of experience. This group has been created to help and support pharmacists and technicians whatever your role is working with care homes.
We hope to signpost you to useful resources from across the country, discuss best practice guidance within the forum and provide stimulating workshops with a practical focus to help you with your day to day job.”

Cherise Gyimah (Howson) - London Lead

Cherise Howson

Senior Care Homes & Practice Pharmacist

Cherise Gyimah (Howson, MPharm PGDip MRPharmS, Care Homes Pharmacist, Croydon CCG and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, NICE Medicines and Prescribing Centre Associate

Cherise has a background in Community Pharmacy, after joining the NHS in 2009 she worked as a Practice Support Pharmacist and a Prescribing Advisor. She currently works as a Care Homes Pharmacist, providing clinical leadership to ensure optimisation of medicines in care homes across Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark. She has a keen interest in patient safety and developing people.

Sally Mayell - Southern Lead

Sally Mayell

Sally Mayell is Head of Pharmacy at Livewell Southwest CIC delivering services across community and primary care.

She has an extensive background in hospital pharmacy specialising in healthcare of the elderly. Her commitment to developing local innovations to improve patient outcomes includes the delivery of an enhanced care home model.

Helen Pinney - Technician Lead

Helen Pinney is the Lead Pharmacy Technician for twelve GP surgeries in West London. She oversees a team of pharmacy technicians and independent prescribing pharmacists who are responsible for the pharmaceutical care of community patients and twenty nursing homes in the area. She also frequently works as a locum in community pharmacy in order to stay in touch with the challenges faced in the community sector.

She is passionate about expanding technicians' roles to reflect their full potential and to complement the pharmacy profession as a whole, with an aim to achieving better and more patient centred care nationally.


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