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.
Putting myself forward for election to the RPS English Pharmacy Board is something I have been considering for some time.
I am proud to be an RPS member. It is a fantastic representative of our profession and I believe that, if I am elected to the Board, I will make an important contribution to furthering that work.
I will be honest, though: it was difficult to find the required ten RPS members to back my nomination.
That is not because my colleagues were not supportive. Everyone I asked gave their warm encouragement. No; it required persistence to find 10 nominators because of the more than 30 registered pharmacists I asked, the majority are not RPS members.
That made me question why. The RPS champions pharmacists and does so impressively. But what of those on the outside? What does it mean for representation if they are not being heard? We should strive to add their voices to our already diverse choir.
The issue is pronounced among younger colleagues. Recently qualified pharmacists are not signing up in the numbers I would like to see. Some I spoke to said they did not feel it would be valuable to them to join the RPS.
I disagree. I feel that membership is vital for all pharmacists. But perhaps we could do more to, as the RPS’s inclusion and diversity ambitions state, “create a culture of belonging”.
As a member of the Board, I would push for us to reach out to younger pharmacists and others who feel left out. And, as a Board member, I would be an embodiment of the unheard.
I am yet to turn 30, so I understand the issues of importance to pharmacists who are still beginning their professional journeys. I believe my presence on the board would help my contemporaries to feel valued and represented, and that their opinions will be relayed to the top.
The Board should work to drive the profession forward, demonstrating the value in togetherness and encouraging all pharmacists to have their say. That includes making sure as many pharmacists as possible are RPS members.
Throughout the pandemic we have seen what pharmacists can achieve when we all pull together.
I want to see more and more — of all ages, genders and ethnicities, and from all sectors of the profession — united and pushing for positive change under the RPS umbrella.
Reece Samani, election candidate, English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society