Members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) can nominate their peers for election to the three RPS national pharmacy boards from 21 February 2015, when the nomination period officially opens.
Senior RPS figures called on members to help shape the future of the pharmacy profession by standing for election to the English, Scottish or Welsh Pharmacy Boards, and said member representation was vital to inform the Society’s work on behalf of its members.
Members elected to the national pharmacy boards interpret and develop RPS policy and scrutinise the delivery of member services in their respective countries.
Nominations for candidates can be made from now until 27 March 2015, ahead of the voting period that will run from 30 April 2015 to 22 May 2015. This process will elect 13 members across the three national pharmacy boards. Each board member represents RPS members for a three-year term.
Howard Duff, RPS director and returning officer for England, says: “Having national board members who know how the profession needs to further develop and can ensure that pharmacists perform to the best of their abilities for their patients is vital to setting a strategic direction for the RPS. The good cross-section of members’ experience around the national board tables brings energy and ideas to the RPS.”
Alex MacKinnon, RPS director and returning officer for Scotland, says standing for election to a national pharmacy board “further strengthens members’ benefit and influence”. “As a board member, you would be part of the drive to secure our vision of an innovative, progressive and proud pharmacy profession that is recognised and respected by the public, patients, other healthcare professionals and policymakers,” he says.
Members elected to the national pharmacy boards will face a number of pressing issues in their first days in the role.
Jocelyn Parkes, RPS director and returning officer for Wales, says current issues in the nation include the development of primary care clusters and how to position pharmacy in the future of primary care services in Wales, as well as improving public awareness of the profession’s role and developing the Welsh Pharmacy Board manifesto for the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.
In England, the current pharmacy agenda is dominated by the “unprecedented” changes to the NHS following the publication of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View strategy, according to Duff. “Whatever the outcome of the Westminster election, this change will present opportunities and threats for the profession, which will need to be addressed.”
In particular, he says, this includes the need to reform the pharmacy workforce in response to greater numbers graduating from pharmacy schools; to frame pharmacists as experts in medicines; and to respond to pressures in the wider health system by using the skills of pharmacists.
MacKinnon says the Scottish board’s three main priorities for 2015 are to support members to deliver excellent patient care by developing member resources and promoting best practice; to grow the membership and allow members’ views to shape the RPS’s work; and to influence policymakers and opinion formers around the role of pharmacy within the healthcare system.
MacKinnon believes that the fifth anniversary of the creation of the RPS since separating from the regulator in 2010 marks a good time for members to get involved in the Society. “This is an exciting time to be involved as we further develop and expand what we offer to our members,” he says.
The RPS needs a robust governance structure that reflects all the pharmacy professions across all three nations, says Parkes. “We need to keep building our strength and presence so we can contribute to the significant challenges facing pharmacy and medicine safety across Great Britain. Membership of the national boards helps us to achieve that.”
Duff says the national boards speak with authority as representatives of the profession because they reflect its makeup. “The national board members know what it means to be a practising pharmacist because of their own immediate experience, as well as that of their colleagues and networks. They can draw upon this to ensure that we have informed and impactful work carried out on behalf of members.”
Parkes adds: “If you have a vision for pharmacy that you wish to achieve and you want to have a voice in how the profession is supported, you should stand for election as a national pharmacy board member.”
See Announcements for more information about the electoral procedure and how to nominate a member.