Stephen attended Haddon Dene Preparatory School in Broadstairs, and Chatham House Grammar School in Ramsgate, Kent, before studying pharmacy at Liverpool John Moore's University.
After obtaining his degree in 1994, he joined Boots the Chemists for his pre-registration year. In 1995, following the successful completion of his training, he was appointed as Consultant Pharmacist at the Margate branch of Boots. Over the next two years, he was promoted to Pharmacy Manager, first at the Deal branch, then later at the Ramsgate branch, one of the company's flagship stores.
In 1997, Stephen was head-hunted by Paydens Chemists, and over the next four years became one of the group's leading managers, turning around the Margate store, and supporting business in other stores in East Kent.
Stephen left Paydens in 2001, and after a brief spell with Sainsbury's Pharmacy, joined Superdrug in October 2001. For the next five years, he had significant success with the company, resulting in his promotion to Regional Pharmacy Development Manager for the South of England. During his time at the helm, the region climbed from the very bottom of the pile to the most successful region in the company, earning Stephen acclaim in the process.
In October 2006, he was again head-hunted, this time by S. G. Court Limited, a group of fifteen pharmacies in the South East, to become their Pharmacy Superintendent and Head of Professional Services.
In April 2007, Stephen decided to seize the opportunity within the new pharmacy contract, and put together plans to open his own pharmacy. On 8th September 2007, Pierremont Pharmacy opened in the High Street, Broadstairs, as a 100-hour pharmacy. Stephen sold Pierremont Pharmacy in March 2010 to Graham Phillips' Manor Pharmacy Group, but continued to work in the business as the Pharmacy Superintendent for the next two and a half years.
Until August 2014, Stephen ran Margate Pharmacy, part of Andrew Murray's Community Pharmacies (UK) group, based at Northdown Surgery in Margate. He was also the group's Clinical Services Lead, driving forwards the clinical agenda and the Healthy Living Pharmacy programme across twenty branches.
In November 2014, with his business partner and friend Asim Mirza, Stephen formed Foster & Mirza Consulting, with the aim of providing pharmacist support to three GP surgeries in Essex.
In the two years since, the work has increased four-fold, and Stephen and Asim now cover twelve surgeries in Essex, offering services such as prescription switching, medicines optimisation reviews, and respiratory, cardiovascular, diabetes and allergy clinics. They have also introduced a cutting edge Care Home project, and have added five other pharmacists to their team.
Stephen also currently works as the Clinical Lead for Pharmadoctor, a company that provides PGDs and Online Doctor services, and sits on the Executive and Council of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), as well as running his own Consultancy business, Carpe Diem Health Limited.
Stephen wrote a monthly column for "Independent Community Pharmacist" magazine, and also contributed to "The Consultant" and "Commissioning GP" online magazines, as well as writing regular articles in the pharmaceutical and medical press. He also wrote a column for "The Commissioning Review".
He regularly appeared on local and national radio as one of the NPA spokesmen, and was also the spokesman for Allergy UK. He is also the resident Allergy expert for the Daily Mail. He has represented the profession in a number of profile-raising events at the House of Commons on behalf of the RPSGB and NPA, lobbying MPs and key decision makers in the NHS.
He was invited to speak on "Creating and Maintaining Alternative Revenue Streams" at the Primary Care Live events at the ExCel Exhibition and Conference Centre in London Docklands in October 2009, and at the Central Convention Complex in Manchester in November 2009.
He was also a key-note speaker at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester, and the Ulster Chemists' Association (UCA) conference in Ireland in 2008. More recently, he has undertaken speaking engagements at the NEC in Birmingham with "The Pharmacy Show".
Stephen, a rugby fanatic, was short-listed to join the Press Operations Team at the Rugby World Cup 2015, reporting on matches and interviewing the players – his dream role!
As a result of his success, Stephen was chosen by Jonathan Mason (then National Clinical Director for Community Pharmacy) as one of the Clinical Leaders of the profession nationally, and sat on the National Clinical Commissioning Network alongside leading healthcare professionals. He also represented all health professionals outside general practice (not only pharmacy, but also nursing, dentistry, optometry and all the allied professions) as the National Lead for the Healthcare Professionals' Commissioning Network.
Recently, these two networks have merged, and Stephen is one of the founding members of the resulting National Primary Care Network, which is led by Dr. James Kingsland.
Stephen is also a member of the Executive and Council of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) – the first pharmacist to ever hold such a position – and sits on their Primary Care Forum. He worked alongside Dr. Charles Alessi (former NAPC Chairman) on delivering a more multi-professional membership of the association. He also led Phase Two of the NAPC's Practice Innovation Network, aimed at extending innovative working into the rest of Primary Care.
He was invited to represent the pharmacy profession in Clinical Leadership events run by Dr. David Colin-Thomé (former National Clinical Director for Primary Care) and Ben Dyson (Director of Primary Care, DH) alongside the leaders of primary care in this country. He also sat on the "Leadership, Representation and Advocacy", "Professional Development and Education" and "Professional Networking" Reference Groups at RPSGB, helping to develop the vision for pharmacy in the 21st century.
Stephen strongly believes in the concept of the Local Practice Forum, and led the development of an LPF in East Kent.
Stephen has been at the fore-front of pharmacy development during his career. He was one of the first pharmacists nationally to sit on the Professional Executive Committee (P.E.C.) of his local Primary Care Trust, and for five years between 2001 and 2006, he was responsible for driving forward pharmacy service development.
He was also, for five years, the Strategy Lead for Kent Local Pharmaceutical Committee (L.P.C.) and was the author of their revised vision in 2006. He was the Pharmacy Lead for the Kent Council on Addiction (K.C.A.) and was also the East Kent Champion for Smoking Cessation Services with the East Kent Health Promotion Service.
Over the last sixteen years, Stephen has developed a specialism in respiratory disease, notably Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (C.O.P.D.), and for the last ten years, has run regular respiratory clinics in GP surgeries across Kent and Medway and Essex, as well as in his own pharmacy practice. He also led the East Kent Respiratory Network alongside Dr. Simon Dunn, and sat on the South East Coast Respiratory Expert Advisory Group (R.E.A.G.).
Stephen trained as an Allergy Specialist with Allergy UK in 2008, and runs a busy clinic at his pharmacy, seeing patients with allergies and food intolerances. He is the only Allergy UK-registered allergy specialist in the South East. He hopes to become an Independent Prescriber now that the role has been formalised, and was in regular communication with Beth Taylor (National project lead for the PwSI programme, DH) over the development of this role.
He sat on the Specialist Curriculum Group at UKCPA, with responsibility for the development of the specialist agenda nationally, and was part of the Developing Practice project within RPSGB.
He is in the process of developing an East Kent Diabetes Network – another specialist area of his – as well as an East Kent Stroke Network to support his work in Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation. He was also part of the Dermatology Group at the Department of Health which was responsible for re-writing the dermatology standards recently, and also has special interests in, amongst other areas, Anticoagulation, Travel Health, Men's Health and Gout.
Stephen has also trained as an Emergency Medical Practitioner, and one of his proudest achievements was when he formed a part of the Emergency Medical Team at the London 2012 Olympics, the only pharmacist working in a team of doctors and nurses.
Stephen is a driven local businessman, and ran four other companies in his spare time (!), among them, Granville Theatre Limited, Foster's Consultancy Limited and Pierremont Healthcare Limited. He has also recently opened a new healthcare consultancy, Carpe Diem Health Limited.
He formed Pierremont Healthcare Limited, his healthcare provider, in 2008 with the aim of changing the face of District Nursing and other clinical services locally, and is presently in negotiations with the local CCGs, having previously been admitted to the "Willing Providers List" in areas including audiology, physiotherapy, respiratory and allergy work.
Since January 2014, Stephen has worked on a part-time basis with the Utility Warehouse Discount Club, helping his friends and family save money on their household bills and shopping, as well as giving nearly 100 people the opportunity to run their own part-time businesses. Utility Warehouse has not only provided him with a monthly residual income, but he has also benefitted from an all-expenses-paid weekend in Budapest, a brand new BMW Mini, and has just qualified for the family holiday of a lifetime to the Disney resort, Orlando in Summer 2018!
Stephen's other passion is theatre, and he was an accomplished performer for many years, first through choral works, and later in musical theatre. He ran two theatre companies, producing amateur and professional shows locally, and in May 2007, took over the Granville Theatre and Cinema in Ramsgate, Kent. He has overseen an extensive renovation and refurbishment programme, and managed to rejuvenate interest in live entertainment in the process. He was also, until recently, the Chairman of Ramsgate Operatic Society.
Stephen, 44, currently lives in Margate, Kent, with his fiancée Ewelina, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Daisy, and their new baby, Emilia.
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