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.
The RPS is a successful body that represents a successful profession in a rich country. That privileged position does, I believe, give us a responsibility towards those less fortunate.
At this time, when the whole world is faced with a climate emergency, we should use the leadership status of the RPS for the benefit of all. In my youth, I was an environmental activist and campaigner on green issues. Here and now, at the tail of my career, I am reigniting that activism. In the intervening years, I have understood the clear link between environmental protection and inequality when moving towards a low-carbon economy is a low priority compared with feeding your family. In parallel, there is an established link between economic inequality and health inequality, which is addressed in England in the February health white paper and internationally in World Health Organization campaigns and World Economic Forum reports. In the third week of January, when I received my first vaccine dose while working as a volunteer vaccinator, The Observer reported that the number of people who had received the COVID-19 vaccination in the whole of Africa could fit in a London bus. I was shocked by that.
We must act to leverage the leadership position of the RPS to address climate change and, because we are a healthcare organisation, the natural place for us to address it is through improving the health of the least advantaged fellow humans across the world. We can work through direct lobbying of our government, which has radically cut direct overseas aid, and through supporting colleagues in developing countries with our wealth and experience, working with aid organisations to send our members to places where they can have a direct impact. In this country, we can raise awareness of these links between inequality, health outcomes and climate.
Howard Duff, election candidate, English pharmacy board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society