Scottish Pharmacy Board meeting: 8 October 2020

The Scottish Pharmacy Board discussed work on inclusion and diversity to encourage members to stand at the national pharmacy board elections, as well as careers support and ideas around changing the structure of board meetings.

Clare Morrison, director for RPS Scotland

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB) met via Zoom on 8 October 2020.

In addition to board members, present at the meeting were Clare Morrison, RPS director for Scotland; Sandra Gidley, president of RPS; Paul Bennett, RPS chief executive; Robbie Turner, RPS director of pharmacy and member experience; Gail Fleming, RPS director for education and professional development; Gino Martini, RPS chief scientist; Amandeep Doll, RPS inclusion and diversity co-ordinator; Helen Reilly, RPS head of external relations; Annemarie McGregor, RPS Scotland practice development lead and Hanna Jenvey, RPS events and sponsorship manager.

The meeting marked the first gathering of the SPB with Clare Morrison in the role of director for Scotland.

RPS Scotland manifesto

Helen Reilly said that the Society’s manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament Elections is planned for publication during the last week of October 2020. It will be sent to Members of the Scottish Parliament, as well as to pharmacy media and some national media. One-to-one meetings with health spokespeople will begin around the end of October or beginning of November.

Inclusion and diversity 

Following an update on the RPS’s inclusion and diversity work, led by Amandeep Doll, board member John McAnaw said that there would be quite a few positions up for election at the 2021 national pharmacy board elections. “I feel we need to take responsibly to encourage as many people as possible to put themselves forward: has the [Society’s] Action in Belonging, Culture & Diversity [ABCD] group talked about the perception of boards?” he asked.

Doll said that the ABCD group felt there was a lack of representivity across boards, adding that approaches to change this must be done in a way that “encourages and empowers” members to stand, but “not in a tokenistic way”. Doll added that the Society was looking at the language used in communications and the board member handbook, asking whether it could be more inclusive.

Board chair Jonathan Burton said that he was already having conversations with members at this early stage, “just to let them know I think they would be really good” as potential board members.

“The wider the net we throw, hopefully the more diverse we will be.”

Early careers

Hanna Jenvey gave an update on the ‘Access to Timely Information about Medicines’ workstream of the Early Careers programme, which — among other things — aims to improve access to resources on the RPS website and develop a programme of webinars on the lifecycle of medicines. As part of the workstream, the member resources hub on the RPS website has been re-designed and streamlined, and the next step is to improve search bar functionality. Jenvey added that the education team are leading on a series of webinars to be included as part of a new membership package.

A new careers support hub is available which, Jenvey said, takes members through the journey of applying and securing a job, and the first day in a new role. The hub includes guidance documents and videos featuring “like-minded and relatable pharmacists”.

Structure of future meetings

Burton asked the board to consider potential new working arrangements for the SPB in the longer term: the frequency, length, and style of meetings, and the nature of additional communications between the board in between meetings. Burton felt it was important to be able to discuss and act on policy matters in a more “protected and timely manner”, and had proposed a mixed model for meetings, combining virtual and face-to-face gatherings. Up for discussion was the frequency and timing — e.g. day or evening — of meetings, and how often to hold face-to-face versus online meetings.

Based on board member feedback prior to the meeting, Burton said: “I feel we are supportive of a more mixed model going forward, working virtually a lot more”.

Clare Morrison said that there may be members in more rural parts of Scotland who are currently put off joining the board because of travel issues, and virtual meetings may open up the option to them; likewise, a more virtual approach may encourage more people with childcare responsibilities.

Board member Anne Boyter said that board meetings feel rather formal and that more frequent meetings may offer a more “agile” approach; however, she acknowledged that this might impact colleagues in some sectors — for example, community pharmacy — who may not be able to attend more frequent meetings.

Board member Ailsa Power said that a “mixed model [of meetings and communications] is the only option to be as inclusive as possible”. McAnaw agreed and noted that “accessibility is a factor in getting people to go forward for board positions and a new [mixed] model will tick a number of boxes”.

Robbie Turner said that if the board made a decision to work in a different way, the Society would support that; however, Turner noted that there was a “challenge” around finding a way of working that suited everyone and did not reduce accessibility for some.

  • The date of the next Scottish Pharmacy Board meeting was set for 3 February 2021.
Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ November 2020, Vol 305, No 7943;305(7943)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2020.20208472

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