Elections 2019: What will you do to ensure the voice of members is represented on the board?

The results of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society national pharmacy board elections are due to be announced on or around 17 May 2019. In order to get to know the candidates for 2019, and find out more about what they stand for, The Pharmaceutical Journal asked for responses to two questions. Here, the candidates explain how they would, if elected, represent members’ voices.

RPS election candidates


Sharon ‘Sibby’ Buckle, advanced practitioner community pharmacist, Boots

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus 

As a serving member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) English Pharmacy Board (EPB) and full-time practising community pharmacist, I am in touch with ‘grass-roots’ pharmacy. Experiencing daily the pressures and challenges of delivering pharmacy services in fast-moving consumer environments, I regularly liaise with my fellow pharmacists on the best treatments for anxious and ill patients, and ‘google expert’ customers. 

As chair of the Pharmacy Digital Forum I regularly meet with representatives from all pharmacy organisations, suppliers, NHS Digital, the Department of Health and the Professional Record Standards Body, obtaining feedback, ensuring we horizon scan and preparing for emerging technological and digital challenges. 

A passionate ambassador for pharmacy, I speak to government, MPs and other opinion leaders, engage with the integrated care systems/sustainability and transformation partnerships and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and as deputy chair of Nottingham and Derby Local Practice Forum (LPF), I am committed to improving engagement between the RPS and our members.

David Carter, director and shareholder of Galen Pharmacy Ltd; chair of Gateshead and South Tyneside Local Pharmaceutical Committee 

It’s absolutely vital that the voice of the membership is heard at board level, as the organisation must be a member led society. I’m based in the North East where I sit as the chair of Gateshead and South Tyneside Local Pharmacy Committee. Members that know me, particularly community pharmacists, will be aware that I’m always available to speak to them, and I’m very happy to take comments back to the board. I’m also very happy to attend local pharmacy forum events to network with members. If elected, I intend to improve the contribution members can make to the board by promoting local engagement.

Graeme Hood, commissioning pharmacist, NHS England and NHS Improvement (Midlands)

I will develop, strengthen and give a strong voice to the LPFs. Before standing for election, I spoke to pharmacists in different areas of practice, where many felt their views were not always represented, both by the elected members of the board and in campaigns run by the RPS. In order for the RPS to continue to evolve and improve, it is important that we encourage peers to raise new ideas and express views by listening to each other and working together. This is why I believe it is essential that all members should have the opportunity to vote on future RPS campaigns and policies via LPFs. I feel strongly that the board is there to represent the members of the RPS and, if elected, I will ensure members’ views are at the centre of all discussions.

Brendon Jiang, GP pharmacist, Click Federation; community pharmacist, Boots; community services pharmacist, Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust

The fundamental role of the RPS EPB members is advocacy. I question whether the board is advocating effectively. As a pertinent example, the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Nursing have published policy statements regarding Brexit. In contrast, the RPS has not. 

I promise to canvass and raise concerns at board level. I am an active member of my local healthcare economy, am active on social media and try to attend as many national events as is reasonable for a pharmacist working full time. 

It saddens me when speaking to colleagues who feel the RPS does not listen to or speak for them. We must listen to views and pay attention to motions raised. On some issues, it may even be necessary to conduct national listening exercises. 

Furthermore, the RPS must understand why members leave. Just yesterday, I met another ebullient young pharmacist who does not feel RPS membership is worthy. This must change.

Fatema Mamdani, hospital pharmacist, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I am currently an RPS ambassador and newly qualified lead for my RPS LPF (London North West), which gives me confidence that I will be able to engage with local members on new policies being considered by the board and relay their views back. As a newly qualified pharmacist, I will be able to provide a fresh perspective on key strategies, while also listening to the views of more experienced peers and colleagues. I will also work with universities and preregistration pharmacist training programmes to represent younger members and ensure they are supported and feel that their views are heard. Having worked in both hospital and community sectors, I will advocate for both sets of interests and use my experience to develop balanced policies and strategies in conjunction with the board.

Duncan Petty, research practitioner in primary care pharmacy, University of Bradford 

Having worked in academia, hospital, general practice, and as a community pharmacy locum, I have knowledge of most sectors within the profession. My current role as a pharmacy researcher and lecturer brings me in regular contact with postgraduate pharmacists, pharmacist lecturers and teacher practitioners from community and hospital sectors. From these individuals I hear about concerns regarding the profession. I will also hear the voice of pharmacists at the LPFs. I will use Twitter as a virtual ‘surgery’ where members can discuss matters and raise concerns that I can then raise with the RPS Board. My Twitter handle is @DuncanrPetty.

I will ensure the voice of pharmacists is represented through the feedback I gain from networking with colleagues and by applying the insight I have into current and future roles of the pharmacist in the context of changes in NHS policy and evidence base for better patient care.

Amira Shaikh, deputy senior clinical pharmacist at Islington GP Federation, NHS 111 pharmacist adviser; RPS ambassador 

Working currently in GP practice and NHS 111, being elected to the board will bring a degree of diversity and more importantly, will ensure fair representation of the various sectors of the profession. Accurate representation can only happen if members are well engaged, listened to, and understood.

As a board member, I would hope to: 

  • Showcase how the strategic planning cycle drives the board’s activities and agenda setting;
  • Bring a form of unity within the profession for better representation of pharmacists across all sectors with different level of experiences;
  • Bring about formalised collaborative work with other healthcare professionals;
  • Raise political awareness — this is particularly in light of recent comments made by MPs who are unaware of the skill set pharmacists have to offer.

I believe the patient participation group, currently used within GP practice, is an accurate model to introduce, where members would be invited through various accessible mediums to meet and discuss issues and bring fresh ideas on how to make improvements.

Tracey Thornley, senior manager, contract framework and outcomes, Boots; academic pharmacist (University of Nottingham); health economist

As part of my role, I work collaboratively with pharmacists from all sectors, including those working in community pharmacies, hospitals, GP practices, CCGs and academia, as well as those in back office roles and those with a national focus or speciality. With evolving roles, many pharmacists are choosing portfolio careers and working across different environments. Listening to and communicating with colleagues through local and national networks will allow me to understand the opportunities and challenges facing the profession.

We are beginning to see the NHS and other professions recognising what pharmacy can do, but the RPS needs to continue to build on this; strengthening the value of pharmacists and acting as ambassadors for the profession. If re-elected, I will continue to act as an ambassador in championing pharmacists’ role in this agenda; supporting learnings across countries, providing evidence of value and working collaboratively with other organisations and professionals.

Andre Yeung, specialist pharmacy adviser/pharmacist consultant; local professional network chair, North Cumbria and North East 

Members want an RPS that they can aspire to be a part of. Member and non-member pharmacists that I’ve already spoken to have told me that they want an organisation that is more transparent, more relevant and more effective.

Therefore, my plan to represent the voice of members is to first listen and understand what they want from the organisation. I know this sounds really basic but it’s so important. And honestly, as a member for over 17 years, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt listened to by the RPS.

To address this, I’ll be reaching out to as many people as possible over the coming weeks and months. Once I’ve heard the views of members I’ll be able to develop a personal strategy to shape my contribution to critical conversations at board level within the RPS. I aim to strongly represent the views of members.


Brian Addison, lecturer in pharmacy practice (Master of Pharmacy course leader), Robert Gordon University

If elected as a board member, I will ensure that the RPS truly represents the whole profession by advocating on behalf of the membership to promote the science and practice of pharmacy. I will work with members to ensure that the RPS submits responses to consultations on behalf of its members to ensure that pharmacy continues to be at the forefront of healthcare. 

I am committed to the importance of having local networking opportunities for members, and believe that it is important that the RPS continues to have local groups. I will, therefore, work with RPS colleagues to ensure that all areas of Scotland continue to have access to RPS events in their local area. I will provide support to RPS local coordinators to promote the Society’s policies and activities, and act as an active link between local members and the Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB).

William ‘Iain’ Bishop, eHealth pharmacy adviser; clinical informatician and clinical safety officer, NHS National Services Scotland

If I am successful in being elected, my first step would be to create a separate, dedicated email account for members to contact me on. They would be able to raise any matter that they wish and I will commit to taking these to the RPS SPB. Additionally, I aim to help pharmacists find another voice — that of pharmacy digital leaders. This may not be what most pharmacists may think about; however, the technological landscape in healthcare is changing and pharmacists in Scotland risk not being an active part of this. We need to help pharmacists to develop into digital leaders to ensure that pharmacists are supported to develop into digital leadership roles and ensure pharmacy is front and centre in this changing landscape. 

Omolola Dabiri, pharmacy adviser at NHS 24 and locum pharmacist (community and hospital), Aberdeen; independent prescriber

My strategy would be that of rollout of ample opportunities for conversations, active listening, and building of trust.

I would facilitate these by, firstly, reaching out formally and informally, listening to and engaging the existing RPS local coordinators and forums to explore experiential challenges in engaging members in order to help overcome these challenges. I would give active follow-up feedback in order to earn and maintain trust. 

Secondly, I would reach out to underrepresented groups: I would explore and listen to their views, aspirations and reasons for not coming forward or engaging with available events, support and development opportunities.

Thirdly, I would use different tools of engagement, digital, conversation cafes, social events (e.g. a yearly ball), suggestions/ideas competitions (individual and teams) — both local and national (advertised via social media, events, hospitals, community pharmacy networks, universities, primary care network, British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, etc.) to draw out robust participation among members.

David Henry, community pharmacy lead, NHS Glasgow Community Health Partnership (CHP)

To ensure the voice of the members is represented on the board, I would invite members to contact me prior to meetings with any concerns, issues, ideas or, indeed, any general comments they wish me to propose or bring up at the board meetings. In my other roles within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, I have opportunities to visit community pharmacies and have face-to-face contact with the pharmacists and staff. I also have many contacts in hospital pharmacy through my role in Greater Glasgow and Clyde Area Pharmaceutical Committee and would hope to continue this contact and use it to further the interests of member pharmacists when I am attending board meetings.


Adam Mackridge, deputy head of pharmacy for primary and community care (East), Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board 

My role in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board involves working with colleagues across primary and secondary care, and pharmacists working in community pharmacies, in the health board. This would make me very accessible to RPS members across the different sectors of the profession throughout North Wales. I am approachable and open to discussion on professional topics, so would welcome calls or emails from RPS members wishing to raise any issues with me and would endeavour to represent members on these issues through board meetings. I see board members as a conduit between the membership and the Society as a body; therefore, I would also seek to represent RPS business to members and non-members of the profession, to promote the work of the Society and help increase its impact at a grassroots level. 

  • Of the 19 candidates standing for election, 14 provided responses

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, April 2019, Vol 302, No 7924;302(7924):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206427

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