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 am proud that I have been an RPS member for over 25 years but, like so many others lately, I have felt disaffected. Pharmacy as a profession is sidelined with little respect from the public; pharmacists face harsh working conditions and little is said about discrimination. However, there are some green shoots. An increase in resources that support development and a shift to focus on inclusion are just two to note. In 2019, I was proud to chair the first ‘Black History Month’ event in the history of the RPS and I’m pleased to see the work of the Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity (ABCD) group.
There is still a long way to go. It should not take a pandemic or global antiracism outrage to move the RPS into visible tangible action. The green shoots we see must be sustained and for that we need a change in leadership with board members who care about the profession and not in the vested interests of a few.
We need a leadership body that continually ignites our passion for pharmacy and shines the spotlight on the profession so that we are respected for the incredible work we do. It should ensure pharmacy is front and centre, not an afterthought in policymakers minds. We need a board that reflects the diversity of the profession and seeks to promote unity of the sectors by hearing and responding to our needs.
I am standing in this election because I know that it is better to be the change I want to see. I have a wealth of experience covering not only hospital pharmacy but also public health policy and global health. I am a trained quality improvement coach and bring a ‘can do’ attitude to everything I do. As a school governor and charity trustee, I scrutinise and challenge organisations to ensure value for money. As chair of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff networks, I am experienced in listening to concerns of workforce and championing change.
Voting for me will be a vote for someone who is values driven and will work selflessly and passionately for the profession. I will constructively challenge, be accountable, and hold to account the work of the board. I will work to understand the experiences and needs of our members across all sectors. I will lobby and advocate for better working environments and work tirelessly to stamp out discrimination.
Erutase Oputu, election candidate, English pharmacy board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society