The four UK chief pharmaceutical officers have set up an advisory board to lead the implementation of recommendations made by the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership.
The ‘UK Pharmacy Professional Leadership Advisory Board’ will be independently chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, current chair of the Health Foundation, and chief negotiations advisor on the government review of the pricing of generic medicines. The board is aimed at being the “vehicle for greater collaboration” across pharmacy professional leadership bodies (PLBs) and specialist professional groups (SPGs), initially over a three-year period.
Its 19 members will include 9 representatives from PLBs and SPGs, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.
An open recruitment process has been launched for nine further independent expert members, which will close on 13 November 2023.
Board members will be tasked with developing and overseeing a programme of work to implement the recommendations from the UK commission, which was launched in May 2022 by the four chief pharmaceutical officers to look at how best to guide and support transformational change in pharmacy.
An open letter announcing the board’s formation on 23 October 2023 explained that it “has taken some months” for the chief pharmaceutical officers to constitute the board as an independent, advisory public body and establish a clear remit for its work.
According to the letter, the board’s remit will include facilitating the development of professional standards to support the practice of pharmacy; developing a coordinated and authoritative voice for pharmacy professional leadership; and contributing to the collaborative development of aligned UK curricula for post-registration education and training.
The nine independent expert members will play a “pivotal role” in shaping and supporting the work of the board and the positions are open “to leaders from diverse backgrounds who are of the highest calibre with an outstanding track record in, strong understanding of, or lived experience in, health and care in any country of the UK”, the letter added.
The RPS said in a statement on 23 October 2023 that it was looking forward to participating in the advisory board, adding that the emphasis on the importance of leaders with diverse experiences and expertise in shaping the future of pharmacy practice was also welcome.
In comments alongside the statement, Claire Anderson, president of the RPS, said: “The collaborative nature of the board combined with significant changes and challenges in pharmacy means the time is right to join hands across the pharmacy professional bodies and special interest groups to develop a collective approach to leadership.”
Sir Hugh said he was “delighted and honoured” to be taking on the role of independent chair.
“The aim of this board is to lead and support collaboration across the professions in the UK, so that they can look to the future with ambition and confidence and realise their full potential,” he said. “That is a hugely exciting mission, and one I very much look forward to supporting.”
A joint statement from Andrew Evans, Cathy Harrison, Alison Strath and David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officers for Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, respectively, said: “There is an urgent need for the pharmacy professions to work collaboratively to deliver on their potential, and address together a wide range of professional issues.
“We look forward to the new independent board engaging with pharmacy professionals across the UK to champion a new and dynamic phase of collaboration and create a positive future.”
They added that they were seeking independent members with expertise in a wide range of fields to ensure the board was “broad, balanced and inclusive”.