Opportunities to learn and network

Sandra Gidley, vice chairman of the English Pharmacy Board and a member of the RPS Annual Conference steering group, describes what delegates can expect to learn at Birmingham’s NEC in September.

English Pharmacy Board vice-chair Sandra Gidley

I am a relatively recent convert to pharmacy conferences but, as a locum pharmacist who can occasionally become disillusioned with the day job, I turn to the RPS Annual Conference for a boost of enthusiasm and new ideas, and also to catch up with old friends. 

The event has grown over recent years, attracting a diverse range of practitioners from all sectors of pharmacy.

Many of the sessions focus on the development of practical skills and attendees will hear ideas they can start using when they return to work. This year I am particularly looking forward to a session that will help public-facing pharmacists get started on practice research.


Judith Smith, director of policy at the Nuffield Trust, will highlight the findings of the 2013 ’Now or never’ report on future models of care delivered through pharmacy. The Scottish action plan ’Prescription for excellence’ and developments in Wales will also be discussed.

Nigel Clarke, chairman of the General Pharmaceutical Council, will provide an update on pharmacy regulation. From a political perspective, Earl Howe, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, will share the government’s vision for pharmacy. There will also be a session with the chief pharmaceutical officers for England, Scotland and Wales, during which Society members will be encouraged to ask questions.

As research stream chair, Bryony Dean Franklin will be talking about the work of the RPS Conference Research Panel. This will complement the practice-based research presentations taking place within one of the parallel streams.


Some people start attending conference early in their careers and others catch up later — the Annual Conference provides plenty of opportunities to network and meet the leaders of the profession, whether they be chief pharmaceutical officers, heads of organisations or elected members of the RPS. 

This is also the place to hear from the leaders of your professional body about how the RPS is influencing the wider healthcare community. The society’s national board members and staff will be keen to meet you and answer any questions you might have.

I love hearing about new developments, reflecting on my own practice and considering new ways to deliver better patient care. If you want to be inspired and contribute to the development of your profession, I recommend booking a place at the RPS Annual Conference.

The event takes place in Birmingham on 7–8 September 2014.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 26 July/2 August 2014, Vol 293, No 7820/1;293(7820/1):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20065927

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