This is a campaign letter for the 2021 RPS national pharmacy board elections. The views expressed in this letter belong to the author. Find out more about the RPS elections.
As former President Barack Obama once stated: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” I believe change is imminent. I am passionate about envisaging a better, brighter future for our profession, shaping and steering to some well needed change. Declining RPS membership year on year has been on the lips of previous candidates running for election, yet what has actually been done in retaining and growing membership? I have been an RPS member for nine years. This has been my first year running for election. During this process, I have noticed firsthand that many of my network are not RPS members, posing the question: what are the benefits of membership, and why have a lot of our profession opted out? I believe it is fundamental to retain and grow the membership while also addressing the very needs of our current members. We need fresh, innovate ideas — and this can only happen with change. We need new faces. We need a platform for pharmacists and pharmacy students to network, collaborate and support; to unite all sectors of pharmacists together. I feel this is the infrastructure that we are truly lacking. I still believe in the RPS, and want it to thrive as a professional body; however, much change is needed for it to really to take place.
For far too long, I feel we have had a lack of representation as a profession. We need to improve for better collaboration and work with trade unions, such as the Pharmacists’ Defence Association, for safer working environments. We must advocate and endorse standards, such as the Safer Pharmacies Charter and improve safer practice. We must do more to tackle issues such as store closures, which have a detrimental impact on our patients who access our pharmacies and need us open in our communities. If elected, I will continue to support these commitments.
My campaign is lobbying for change. I am tired of waiting for some other person or some other time to improve the profession we have worked so hard for. With your vote, I pledge towards steering a professional body and representation in the right direction. I will work selflessly to collaborate and drive much needed change, and champion a voice to represent us all. It is time to voice change.
Heelen Rashmikant Shah, election candidate, English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society