I dream of a day when newsbites don’t begin with: ‘The strain on the doctors and nurses…’, but instead states: ‘The doctors, pharmacists, and nurses…’.
I want recognition for my profession. I want public awareness of my profession. I do not want a profession whose members have 12% funding cuts imposed upon them, yet I turn on the radio to hear the British Medical Association groaning that 1—2% increase is insufficient.
I do not want a profession without a voice.
Currently, I feel that this is what we actually have. Retail proprietors are weakened by a divide-and-conquer mentality.
Additional layers of legislation such as safeguarding/information governance requirements result from other government bodies’ shortcomings, yet we accept the additional burdens without further remuneration. When will we shout ‘no mas’.
Probably never, unless somebody can give independent retail owners, large corporate bodies and clinical pharmacists a reason to unite.
In order to do this, pharmacists must change and so must the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).
The RPS must start to ask what more it can do for its members and how it can evolve such that being an RPS member feels necessary rather than optional.
Perhaps it could actively lobby for specific funding to enable every GP surgery to have an attached clinical pharmacist, funding to support the training and advancement of newly qualified pharmacists, funding for pharmacy locums to retrain as clinical specialists. Ultimately, enable pharmacists to easily pursue career development and integrate at the forefront of primary care.
These are the steps necessary if we are to achieve my goals and to lay the path for the future of pharmacy — a future where the medicines supply function will eventually disappear and if we have not prepared a pathway for the future we will regress both in financial remuneration and public perception.
Pharmacists used in NHS roles, such as prescribing pharmacists at walk-in centres, can save the NHS money. We must utilise the excess workforce that we are generating and populate these roles. Simultaneously, we must also demand that the government pays for the training as having allowed the creation of this situation it has a duty to ensure that the upcoming undergraduates have not wasted five years of their lives and thousands of pounds.
I cannot attempt change outside the RPS and as such have stood for election.
Election candidate, English Pharmacy Board
Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The candidate letters for the RPS national pharmacy board elections have not been edited by The Pharmaceutical Journal