Campaign letter for RPS elections 2021: Martin Astbury on being a Joe Bloggs pharmacist and proud of it

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.

Pharmacy cuts, lowering pharmacists’ wages, remote supervision and corporate employer forced targets threaten pharmacy’s future and the safety of our patients.

The profession needs a strong voice. The voice of someone who can influence what is happening and is not afraid to put their head above the parapet.

My wife and I work as pharmacists. We both work on the frontline of healthcare and, like you, have continued to do so throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I will look after pharmacists’ interests not least because pharmacy provides the only income that puts food on my children’s plates.  We must have board members who regularly interact at the coal face with patients.

I’m still a Joe Bloggs pharmacist and proud of it.

General Pharmaceutical Council fees impact on small contractors, hospital, primary care, industry, those working in GP surgeries, locum and part-time pharmacists. Registrants’ fees should come down — we should not be subsidising the premises fee and university courses.

Responsible Pharmacists (RPs) must be paid when they are signed in as an absent RP. If an employer doesn’t want to pay the RP, then the RP signs off and the pharmacy closes.

The Board should be using its influence, to reduce sweat shop pharmacies and the workload heaped on pharmacists, in all sectors, while elevating us in the public’s eye to doctor status.

Retired pharmacists should not be charged any fees (or a nominal fee of around £20) for joining their society.

Danger! Plans are still afoot to change the regulations on supervision. There are those out there who are pushing strongly for pharmacies without pharmacists. This mustn’t be allowed to happen.

Danger! Pharmacy-only medicines sales supervised by non-pharmacists.

If a Joe Bloggs pharmacist had not been fighting for pharmacists in the past few years, then pharmacies without pharmacists would probably now be a reality. Mandate me to continue the fight.

Martin Astbury, election candidate, English pharmacy board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, April 2021;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.79311