The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has appointed former Pharmacy Voice chair Claire Ward to build stronger ties in Westminster and ensure that a more ‘realistic and positive’ vision of pharmacy is presented to policy makers.
Announcing her appointment as new director of public affairs, the PDA, the body that provides professional indemnity to pharmacists, said that Ward, previously a Labour MP for 13 years, would lead on developing relationships across government and the devolved nations to take the issues facing their 26,000 members ‘to the door of policy makers’.
Her experience at Pharmacy Voice, which closed its doors in April, and before that as chief executive of the Independent Pharmacy Federation will help the PDA develop contacts across the pharmacy sector, their statement says.
Between 1997 and 2010 Ward was MP for Watford and also served as a parliamentary under secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice from 2009 to 2010.
PDA chairman Mark Koziol says that while pharmacy could do so much more to meet the needs of patients and the NHS, “the decision makers in government have been provided with a very underwhelming brief of what we can deliver”.
“Like most pharmacists, we are very passionate about what pharmacy can do, and it is time that we strengthened our direct lines of representation and dialogue with Westminster,” he says.
“We will seek to provide a much more realistic and positive appraisal of the possibilities that pharmacy offers.
“Claire is a very accomplished, well connected and experienced pro-pharmacy campaigner.
“She will be a formidable addition to our team and we are delighted that she has agreed to take charge of our parliamentary relationships and beyond.”
Ward says that at a time when the NHS needs to think differently, it is “essential that individual pharmacists’ skills and contributions are recognised, protected and rewarded”.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to bring my knowledge from across the pharmacy sector and politics to support the PDA and to champion the profession.”
She adds: “The ongoing cuts are having a direct impact on employees and locums and we need politicians and policy makers to understand that this is not the way to deliver safe and effective care to patients.”