The recent letters about The Pharmaceutical Journal (
Pharmaceutical Journal 2017;298:99) raise two issues: the organisational structure of the journal and its editorial content. They are separate issues. The content is not down to whether the PJ has a pharmacist as editor. The publisher role was created to make the digital and paper platforms seamless and to protect the editorial function from business workload and pressures. The PJ has made much progress in the past few years. For example, it now has a website that is updated daily to keep members informed.
There is nothing to stop anyone with good pharmacy sector knowledge and journalistic skills applying for any position.
The editorial content, however, is subject to important debate. We would all agree the PJ has to adapt continually to remain a valued member benefit with the major aim of linking the members to their Society. And while it can strive to be all things to all members, it clearly cannot make all members happy all the time.
Although the PJ is not the only member benefit, it is a valuable resource for many. I personally see it as providing members with useful information (both domestic and international) and providing guidance on careers through the provision of learning content. Getting the balance between having a professional journal and a general scientific magazine right is not easy. Even a good pharmacist would find it difficult to ensure the PJ is promoting Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) services; covering national and regional news, RPS policy and campaigns; and highlighting RPS strategy and Assembly and national pharmacy board news; covering RPS annual elections, conference and events; and giving official notices, and members’ views, among other things. Pharmacy is a broad profession: we have pharmacists working in the pharmaceutical industry, prisons, armed forces, academia, primary care, community, and hospitals, to name a few, and the journal’s broad scope of content reflects this.
These correspondences do, however, highlight how the PJ needs to keep a finger on the pulse of members’ views through its content. How we do this in moving forward will be vital to maintain, retain and sustain a healthy membership.
Mr Dajani is UK Delegate at the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) and a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Assembly and English Pharmacy Board. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the PGEU or RPS