Pharmacy is no longer synonymous with pharmacists. Pharmacy now includes a range of support staff. Pharmacy technicians are qualified team members regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) needs to decide whether its remit is to promote pharmacy or pharmacists.
If it represents pharmacy then it makes sense to allow pharmacy technicians and accredited checking technicians to join the RPS, whose current roles are indispensable and whose future roles will be greater. Why are pharmaceutical scientists allowed to be members when they are not regulated by the GPhC and do not have any direct patient-facing healthcare role? This anomaly needs to be addressed urgently.
Also, being feeble in defending and promoting the working conditions and remuneration of pharmacists is wrong. If the RPS does not feel up to tackling these controversial issues head on, then it should be solely a contractor association and not a pharmacist-funded one. This is the number one reason cited by many of my community pharmacist colleagues for not joining the RPS. The RPS must be strong enough to make a stand. If it does not or cannot then it needs to take a long hard look at itself in terms of why it expects pharmacists to fork out £192 per year.
I expect future national pharmacy board members to advocate vigorously for a change in approach by the RPS reflecting one of the above positions.
English Pharmacy Board
Royal Pharmaceutical Society