A royal college — a distraction or our destiny?

Now that voting has opened in the RPS elections, there’s a lot of talk about the potential for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to become a royal college. In principle, I am supportive of such a move, but it has to be implemented in the right way for the right reasons. This cannot just be a “me too” move, mistakenly thinking that because other professions have a royal college, therefore we need one too.

Would the evolution to a royal college be aligned with the identity of the RPS? Would it be aligned with our purpose? And what would it mean to the profession of pharmacy, our members and non-members, and to patients, carers and service users? Would this transition fit with our values, our mission and our vision? How many of our members even know our vision, and is it the right vision to take us forward?

When considering the long history of the RPS, does a transition to a royal college take everything we love about the RPS and build it into a successful future? How can we ensure that our values become enshrined into our future. What do we need to do to ensure that we don’t lose the very essence that we find inspirational about the RPS? We can’t allow anything to slip through the net.

Whoever is lucky enough to be voted onto the three Boards of the RPS in the current elections must remember that they are just transient custodians to an organisation with a great and long heritage. However, decisions such as becoming a royal college will mark a groundbreaking transformation that will have implications and consequences for decades to come. We can’t un-ring a bell.

So I would ask all those fortunate enough to be elected, and indeed those who vote them in, to take great care in their thinking, their planning and their actions. Humility must be a key component. We are at a critical junction in history. We need to collectively make the right decisions to identify the correct destination for the RPS, and then create the most appropriate plan of implementation to take us there. Yes, I appreciate that we can’t allow perfection to be the barrier to progress, but we do need to be mindful that we are leaving a legacy for our future incumbents. Whatever direction we end up taking, my very best wishes to all involved.

Mike Maguire

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.314148

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