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Rookie solicitor puts training contract on hold to work in coronavirus-battered pharmacies

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King’s grad Thorrun Govind dusts off pharmacy qualifications during pandemic

Thorrun Govind

Not many budding lawyers, after years working towards a coveted training contract, would have the guts to put it all on hold just six months in.

But trainee solicitor Thorrun Govind, who’s also a qualified pharmacist, has temporarily returned to her old profession full-time to help out during the pandemic.

The high-flying Bolton native, whose CV includes being the youngest person elected to the board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, plans to resume her training contract when the crisis abates — and says the partners at her firm couldn’t have been more supportive.

Govind studied pharmacy at King’s College London and qualified in 2016. But she couldn’t shake the legal bug and soon took up the Graduate Diploma in Law at The University of Law.

Health and social care firm Hempsons, which boasts over 180 NHS organisations as clients, snapped her up last year.

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Govind was only six months into her training contract when the pandemic struck. Like Queen Mary law student Megan Evers, who we interviewed earlier this month about her return to the front-line, the pharmacist says she couldn’t stand by while her former colleagues were swamped.

“Pharmacies were really struggling to keep up with demand at the start of the crisis due to the volume of medication and advice being requested,” Govind recalls. “It was tough seeing my pharmacy colleagues working so hard and under such pressure.”

The health service scrambled to line up retired and former pharmacists in what it called “the biggest one-off recruitment programme in the history of the NHS”.

Govind initially tried to pitch in part-time but says that Hempsons “supported me when I asked to turn my attentions to being a full time pharmacist”.

She had been based at the firm’s Manchester office but is now working at pharmacies around Lancashire and the North West.

“I am really looking forward to getting back to Hempsons and completing my training contract,” Govind tells Legal Cheek, “but supporting my fellow healthcare professionals and patients is the right thing to do right now.”

On top of increased workload, three quarters of pharmacies reported a rise in abuse from customers in the early weeks of the pandemic. One Boots manager wrote on LinkedIn last month: “I have been called names, spat at, had to listen to my team as they tell me about the abuse they have endured… What scares me more than COVID-19 ever will is how it has suddenly become acceptable for people to abuse the people that are trying to help them.”

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