The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)’s East London Local Practice Forum (LPF) has been rejuvenated for 2016 and has appointed a new steering committee to direct its new programme of activities. The steering group comprises fresh faces from a range of different sectors including community pharmacy, specialist clinical pharmacy, education and pharmacist development.
“Pharmacists are uniquely placed to have a true impact, at every level, in improving the public health of the nation,” says practice support pharmacist and preregistration trainer, Nazia Ismail, who led the reformation of the LPF. “In 2016, our goal is to present a calendar packed full of learning opportunities that will help our members develop the skills that they need to excel in their day-to-day role,” she adds.
Ismail was given support from other London LPF leads and Samantha Buckland, the RPS’s local relationship development manager for the area.
“After five years of running the LPF since the demerger in 2010, the steering group members made an active decision to move on to new ventures, leaving the way clear for fresh ideas and new local leaders to take the profession forward,” explains Buckland. “The timing was co-aligned with the move of the RPS new head office into the LPF area in 2015, which gives opportunities for closer working with the head office team and local stakeholders.”
However, during the reboot, Ismail experienced challenges with an absence of engagement from members. “If we are too busy to represent ourselves professionally, who will champion us?” asks Ismail. “We need a strong unified voice from all pharmacy bodies to ensure we have a say in the future of the NHS. To achieve this, every pharmacist should engage in discussions at a local and, if needed, at a national level.”
It was this drive that eventually encouraged members to commit to joining the steering group. “By far the best approach was face-to-face when local members met Nazia, who won them over with her enthusiasm and vision for the LPF’s future,” says Buckland.
Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, says it is “fantastic” to see the group working to promote pharmacy in East London.
“I urge all pharmacists to engage with their local LPF to ensure they are up to date both on their own practice and important developments across the wider profession,” she says.
“East London is a hugely diverse population and as such so are the health needs for our patients,” Ismail adds. “Public health and disease prevention is an area all pharmacists can be involved in, and we look forward to working with our Local Pharmaceutical Committee (North East London LPC) who have been very active in this area with its Self Care Pharmacy initiative.”
The East London’s LPF’s first event of the year will take place in Stratford in March 2016, focusing on the NHS patients’ summary care records (SCRs). Attendees will hear from a member of local Healthwatch, a community network that channels local views on health and social care, to help them understand the concerns of patients regarding their information and how to improve the uptake of patients ‘opting in’.
Later on in the year the LPF will be holding events highlighting the work of pharmacists in care homes and polypharmacy in the elderly.