The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said it plans to “widen” its associate membership as part of its five-year strategy for 2021–2026, published on 24 May 2021.
The strategy explains that the change will enable “more people involved in the use of medicines [to] support us in improving their safe and effective use”.
A spokesperson for the RPS told The Pharmaceutical Journal on 25 May 2021 that the Assembly “will be exploring the possible extension of our associate membership categories to a number of professional groups”.
“We are looking to offer additional support to all people involved in the development and use of medicines, and registered pharmacy technicians are part of that,” they said.
The strategy document said: “It is important that the profession of pharmacy has a strong leadership body to keep pharmacy at the forefront of healthcare. “This is our mission and pharmacists need us more than ever.
“We also know that our pharmacist members value their teams. Only by working as part of a skilled and supported teams will our profession be able to deliver what society needs of it in the future.”
The five-year strategy also includes plans to expand its “scope of influence” to include “the pathway of pharmaceuticals from discovery and development all the way through to their use and all the important areas in-between”.
In a statement issued on 24 May 2021, the RPS said the strategy is the outcome of the RPS Assembly’s consideration of the challenges and opportunities facing the Society and will enable it “to be proactive in maintaining focus on its mission to put pharmacy at the forefront of healthcare”.
As part of the plans, the RPS has also committed to creating a sense of belonging across the pharmacy profession by establishing “a professional environment in which everyone truly feels they can be themselves”. This follows the RPS’s announcement in March 2021 that it would launch an inclusive workplace pledge for the profession later this year.
In June 2020, the Society published a five-year inclusion and diversity programme for 2020–2025. Then, in September 2020, it announced a joint set of principles with the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK and NHS England to improve inclusion, diversity and belonging in pharmacy.
Paul Bennett, chief executive of the RPS, said the new strategy will “provide a solid framework for RPS to prepare and support the profession for a dynamic future in which pharmacy and pharmacists plays a central role wherever medicines are used by patients”.
Bennett added that the seven strategic goals set out in the five-year plan “are the result of careful analysis of the environment pharmacy operates in, as well as demographic and regulatory considerations”.
“Our focus will now be to collaborate with our members and our extensive network of partners across Great Britain to make the ambitions in this plan a reality and ultimately improve outcomes for patients across the healthcare system,” he said.
“[The RPS] has a trusted reputation and proud history of developing the profession of pharmacy,” Bennett continued.
“It’s fitting that this forward-looking strategy coincides with the 180th anniversary year of RPS and paves the way for the future.”