Ash Soni has announced that he will be stepping down as president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) at the end of his term on 18 July 2019.
Soni, a community pharmacist, was first elected to the role of RPS president in 2014, and served for two years. In 2016, he stepped down after he was not re-elected to the RPS Assembly.
However, Soni returned to the RPS presidency in 2017, after being elected once again to take over the reins from Martin Astbury, and has held the post since then. He has said he will not seek re-election in July 2019.
“From my personal perspective it’s the right time for me to focus on other areas where I will have the time to support the further development of pharmacy and pharmacists,” said Soni.
“These include Stepcare, an initiative in India where I am involved in building two new primary care centres from the ground up. I will also be expanding my role at NHS England around system leadership, and my role within the National Association of Primary Care, integrating pharmacy into Primary Care Home, the leading primary care network.”
Paul Bennett, chief executive of the RPS, thanked Soni for his “considerable contribution” in his role as president of the RPS.
“Having worked with Ash during his recent presidency I know this will not have been an easy decision for him to reach, but I respect his decision to not contest the forthcoming elections and in so doing give opportunity for other elected members sitting on the Assembly to take on this demanding role.
“I understand that Ash will also continue to work closely with NHS England as an LPN [Local Professional Network] Chair and with the many other healthcare organisations that he works with and we look forward to seeing his continued contribution to the development of our profession.”
During his time as president of the RPS, Soni has led the Society in supporting the rescheduling of cannabis for medical cannabis and, through his position on the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board, was involved in developing proposals that led to the decriminalisation of inadvertent dispensing errors by registered pharmacy professionals working in registered pharmacies in April 2018.
Soni was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to pharmacy and the NHS. He will remain a member of the RPS Assembly and the RPS English Pharmacy Board.