Emily graduated with a first class degree and registered as a pharmacist four years ago. A severe health relapse, however, made finding paid work extremely prohibitive. Covering basic living cost was becoming overwhelming and Emily was finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
Since receiving help from Pharmacist Support my standard of living has improved enormously, and I almost can’t believe how I was living before. I’d cut back on all expenses to the point where I had no TV licence, no home phone and wasn’t able to spend any money on hobbies, socialising or new clothes. I was having to decide which of the very basic necessities to pay for and which I could go without. I was skimping on food and at one point I switched off my fridge to save money as it was empty from not being able to afford food shopping.
It’s really difficult to look after our health when money is tight and there are additional expenses when living with a chronic health problem, such as travel to and from hospital appointments, eating a good healthy diet, and having the heating on, as I am mostly at home, so the bills mount up.
Being ill (I have M.E. – myalgic encephalomyelitis – and other health problems) makes it difficult to stand up for myself, represent myself, and explain my needs to someone who doesn’t know me. Because of this I had applied for benefits but had been turned down, even though I do really need help with the disability caused by my illness. I was too unwell to cope with the stress of applying and having to appeal decisions, so I hadn’t felt strong enough to try again. I kept burying my head in the sand when it came to my financial situation and it was having a negative effect on my mental health.
I felt trapped, hopeless and couldn’t see a way out. I also felt abandoned and forgotten about, and just left to struggle. I talked about my situation with a pharmacist I became friends with through social media and he suggested I contact Pharmacist Support for help. Within days of contacting Pharmacist Support, all that changed. It felt like I had been picked up and carried out of a horrible situation, and was reminded that people do care. I feel very lucky to belong to a profession that looks after peers who fall on hard times, especially when I see pharmacists on social media raising money for the charity and donating so generously.
Thanks to Pharmacist Support I have received three forms of help. The charity paid my GPhC fee for a year, referred me to a benefits adviser to support me in getting the benefits I am entitled to, and helped me with living costs to tide me over while I reapplied for them. I was successful in my reapplication for benefits, so I’ll now be able to manage.
Paying my GPhC fee meant that I could keep up my registration by carrying on with the voluntary work as a pharmacist with the charity ‘Action for M.E.’ as well as with ‘WePharmacists’. This voluntary work has helped me to return to paid work in pharmacy when I am well enough to do so. Through all of their help, Pharmacist Support has ensured that I will be in a better situation for years to come, which is an enormous relief and I can now concentrate on building a better, healthier life.