Since announcing that I am standing as a candidate for the RPS English Pharmacy Board I have been overwhelmed by the response. Delighted at the positive support and encouragement from people that I respect and trust, but shocked at the number of those who have disconnected from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) because they feel that it no longer offers anything valuable to them.
If I am elected onto the English Pharmacy Board one of my priorities will be to help re-establish the RPS as a professional body that works for all its members. Inspiring and developing pharmacy leadership but also helping members connect the activities of the RPS to the reality of their professional life.
I talk to pharmacy teams regularly as part of my job, and every day I see evidence that they care passionately about their patients and are dedicated to helping them lead healthier lives. I also see frustration that the everyday demands of their jobs can limit the time that they have to help patients clinically. Many are not connected to the aspirational work that the RPS does, and feel that they do not have capacity to implement changes suggested by the RPS within their own practice.
Community pharmacy in particular has never been harder. Contractors are struggling with significant funding cuts and pharmacists are safely dispensing an increasing number of prescription items, all while implementing complicated Quality Criteria. At a time when patients with long-term conditions need our support with complex medicines regimes and the NHS is rightly pushing people to go to pharmacy as a first port of call, the RPS must work with pharmacists, contractors and other bodies to overcome these challenges.
The revamped RPS website is a great start. Finding resources is much easier, and I would urge members to have a look if they have not done so already. It also showcases the great collaborative work being done by the RPS, including on urgent care and GP surgery support.
If I were successful in being elected, I pledge to help the RPS amplify its voice on matters that affect the profession, and to support pharmacists in understanding the simple changes they can make to develop their practice and better support their patients.
I fear that if it does not then it risks being an aspirational body without a profession behind it.
English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The candidate letters for the RPS national pharmacy board elections have not been edited by The Pharmaceutical Journal