The English Pharmacy Board (EPB) held its summer meeting at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s London headquarters on 21 June 2018. Guests at the meeting included: Paul Bennett, chief executive of the RPS; Mair Davies, interim director of education; Ian Bates, professor of pharmacy education at University College London’s School of Pharmacy and education adviser to the EPB; Gino Martini, chief scientist at the RPS; Christopher John, head of workforce development at the RPS; Sue Kilby, chair of the RPS Industrial Pharmacists’ Forum; Samantha Lungu, Darzi Fellow and mental health nurse; and Isaac Gidudu, final year MPharm student at the University of Brighton and member of Sussex LPF.
The board welcomed two new members following the recent elections: Hemant Patel, community pharmacist and former president of the RPS, and Thorrun Govind, also a community pharmacist, who is the youngest person ever to be elected to the board. Re-elected were Claire Anderson, Sid Dajani and Aamer Safdar.
Martin Astbury and Mahendra Patel were voted to represent the board on the RPS Assembly. Ash Soni, Sandra Gidley and vice chair Sibby Buckle automatically represent the board by dint of their positions as RPS president, English pharmacy board chair and vice chair, respectively.
Chief executive’s update
Bennett updated the board on organisational changes to the RPS executive team. Robbie Turner, currently director for England, has accepted the new role of director of pharmacy and member experience. Gail Fleming, currently pharmacy dean for London and the South East at Health Education England, will take up the position of director of education in September. A new director of innovation and enterprise role has been created [it was later announced on 29 June 2018 that Harvinder Sondh, currently director of marketing and product development in the Society’s Pharmaceutical Press division, will take up this position]. Jeremy MacDonald is now the Society’s director of technology.
Bennett also said that Simon Redman, director of finance and resources, will be creating a programme management office for the Society.
Team England updates
Heidi Wright, RPS England practice and policy lead, told the board that diabetes would be the focus of RPS England’s next campaign, and that an evidence session is scheduled for 17 September 2018 during which members will be invited to share good practice in diabetes services.
Gareth Kitson, professional development and engagement lead, said that the RPS is working with the Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education on an event to be delivered with RPS Local groups in September or October. The event will focus on how the RPS can help with revalidation, and patient safety will be the learning context for this: specifically, how patient safety aligns with revalidation. Kitson also said that ten RPS ambassadors have now been recruited across England.
Community pharmacy funding cuts
The board voted unanimously in support of a motion reaffirming their opposition to community pharmacy funding cuts. This followed an original motion on the subject that was tabled by Sid Dajani, which stated: “The English Pharmacy Board of the RPS wholly deplores the imposed cuts on community pharmacy remuneration.”
Soni said that Dajani’s motion “reflects very much what we have already said”, which was met with agreement from the board. Dajani withdrew his motion in support of the second, which said that the board “has consistently been united in its opposition to the cuts and there has never been any dissent from the position taken”.
The board supported a motion presented by Hemant Patel on stress within the pharmacy workforce. He asked the board to write to Steve Brine MP, pharmacy minister, requesting that community pharmacists are provided with support for wellbeing equivalent to that offered to GPs. As an action point, the board agreed to write to the minister and prepare communications on the issue with updates to follow.
Cannabis policy sent to Home Office
Martini said that the Society’s policy statement on medical cannabis had been submitted to the Home Office in response to news of the governmental review into rescheduling of the drug. The policy states that the RPS “would support moving cannabis to Schedule 2, which would give pharmaceutical scientists greater freedom to research its potential medicinal uses and to carry out clinical trials”.
Education and training news
John said that the Society was setting up a workforce development group for pharmacy technicians, to scope out their workforce development needs. He said this will align with recent work on the role of the pharmacist.
Davies said that priorities include: the delivery of the nationwide, post-registration, common foundation programme, and the Faculty programme. The first wave of Faculty are now due for resubmission and will be hearing from the Society soon, Davies said.
Paul Bennett said that he and Peter Kopelman, who leads the RPS Task and Finish Group on Career Frameworks and Continuing Professional Development and also chairs the Faculty and Education board, had discussed the common foundation programme with the larger multiples at a workforce development group with the National Pharmacy Association, Company Chemists Association and the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies and had invited multiples to be represented on the group.
Bates, who chairs a subcommittee of the Task and Finish Group responsible for developing the curriculum and assessment of the common foundation programme, said that in his opinion the programme was “essential for the long-term sustainability of the RPS … everything will flow from this strategic direction”.
Bennett added that the RPS looks forward to confirmation of all four chief pharmaceutical officers’ support for the programme in the near future.
- The date of the next English Pharmacy Board meeting was set for 4 October 2018.