The Council of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society broadly welcomes Nigel Clarke’s “Report of the independent inquiry in a professional body for pharmacy” and supports the direction of travel that it suggests.
At an extra April Council meeting, the Chief Executive and Registrar said that the Council had a positive view of the report’s 64 recommendations. “We are looking at some of the detail now as to how those recommendations can be turned into some real progress to get the new professional body under way,” he said.
He added that the Society would be producing a brief summary response, which would be distributed with The Pharmaceutical Journal of 10 May 2008.
Graham Phillips said that he wanted confirmation that the Society would, with immediacy, consult members of aspects of the report in an open and transparent way. He also wanted the Society to examine the options surrounding Mr Clarke’s recommendation that the new body should continue as a chartered body.
But he pointed out that along with a charter came the involvement of the Privy Council, which had consequences. “I do not accept the position that, simply because we have a chartered body now, we would need a chartered body in the future. That may well be the balanced conclusion that we reach, but I want it to be a balanced conclusion and I want it to be examined,” he said.
The president said that the Council had enthusiastically agreed at a strategy meeting before the formal Council meeting, that it would be involving other groups and parties that have expressed in interest in the formation of a new professional body.
John Jolley told the Council that Mr Clarke had agreed to amend his report so that industrial pharmacists could be included as one of the eligible groups for membership the new professional body. [In the published report that had not originally been made clear.]
The Chief executive and registrar said that although the report would not be republished, Mr Clarke did not consider it to be carved in stone; he was prepared to be flexible and to listen to input from the profession.
Sue Kilby said that is was important that there was a commitment to consult with the membership and a commitment to have an ongoing communications programme with members around the whole agenda.
The president agreed. He said: “I think it is very important that we actively take steps to ensure that the membership really understand what the report is all about and forms an informed view.”
Jonathan BUISSON said that this was “where we start building the future professional body that the members actually want. … That is what Clarke gives us a route towards. It is not definitive.” He said there were plenty of details to be argued out but that the report pointed in the right direction.
“The Opinion Leader research shows us quite clearly that actually people want this and they want more than the Society. They want bigger, wider, louder than the Society. That is where we are going and Clarke has given us a good steer.”