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.
When the General Pharmaceutical Council took over the regulatory function from the RPS, I, and every other pharmacist, had a choice to make. Did I want to continue paying a membership fee to the RPS?
I wasn’t sure, so I played it safe and continued as a member. A couple of years later, I questioned my decision. What difference was membership making to me as an individual? Yes, I received Medicines, Ethics and Practice and The Pharmaceutical Journal, but what else was I making use of?
I decided to test how it would feel to not be a member. I’d been a member since 1989 so it did feel strange, as if some emotional tie had been cut.
However, I gave it another couple of years as a non-member, and did it have an impact on my day to day working life? No, not really! I found lots of resources for information, I managed revalidation without much difficulty, and I had a great network of friends and colleagues to talk to when needed. So, I was pretty much paying membership fees for nothing. A waste of money you could say. Right?
Well actually, I was wrong. On reflection, if everybody had my attitude, we wouldn’t have an RPS. And yes, we absolutely do need an effective, vibrant RPS.
We need an organisation that will champion the profession, that will promote pharmacy in the media and government, that will lead the way in medicines information, and will support pharmacists in their education and development.
So instead of complaining, I decided that I should be aiming to support the RPS and help change it for the better. The first obvious way to support it was to restart my membership fees. The second option I considered was to stand for election to the Board, when the time was right, and support positive change from within. That time has now come.
The RPS is not just about its benefit to the individual, but also its value to the whole profession, and that shouldn’t be overlooked.
However, I’m aiming to make the RPS more relevant and meaningful to individual pharmacists, more inclusive and diverse, and more open and transparent, which will bring it closer to its members, so that when it comes to the next time we pay our membership fees, it’s a no-brainer. If you feel that this is the RPS for you, then please vote for Mike Maguire.
Michael Maguire, election candidate, English pharmacy board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society