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.
I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a pharmacist, not just because both of my parents were pharmacists, but because I wanted to help people get better and stay healthy. I am in awe of the brilliant work that pharmacists do, especially over the past 12 months. Therefore, I am standing to represent the profession I love.
I am so proud to be a pharmacist. The Society must reflect how varied the profession has become. I know pharmacists who work outside of our traditional sectors doing brilliant roles such as informatics, research and pharmacogenomics. I am a community pharmacist, but I will ensure that the conversations at the table and the decisions made include all sectors of pharmacy.
As a pharmacy manager, I worked in deprived localities in London, where I was able to make a real difference to the complex health needs of my patients. I delivered a range of services including sexual health and smoking cessation to support public health.
As a Boots MacMillan Information Pharmacist, I supported patients living with cancer. The key is to listen, understand patients’ needs and guide them to more specialist resources, which may not only be medical.
Working as an independent prescriber, I consulted with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients and prescribed for them in my pharmacy consultation room. Patients loved the easy access and personalised care I gave them.
When I was an area manager, my ‘fix-it’ nature helped us to keep our pharmacies open and to care for our patients in the some of the boroughs most affected by COVID-19, while keeping our teams safe.
Now I focus on NHS reforms, which involves getting to know the decision makers in the NHS and government. These relationships will go a long way to promote the reputation of the RPS.
Each of these roles has given me a different skill set. As a member of the board, I will use my expertise, experience, relationships and insights over the past 20 years to ensure that our RPS remains fit for purpose, supporting and promoting the profession.
Shirley Walker, election candidate, English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society