Top ten articles from Your RPS in 2020

top 10 Your RPS

“It is shaping up to be another busy year for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.”

Those words, published in The Pharmaceutical Journal on 14 January 2020, rang truer than anyone could have predicted. As the scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy and member experience at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), said that the organisation would “pause all non-essential activity and establish a programme dedicated to guiding our members and the profession through the crisis”.

It followed that the national pharmacy board elections for 2020 were cancelled, as the Society felt that holding elections at this time would be a “diversion from the priority of the nation and the profession”.

Throughout the pandemic, the RPS has been advocating for pharmacists, setting out the sector’s needs and ensuring that the vital contributions of pharmacy teams are recognised.

COVID-19 had, the Society said, “shaken the very foundations of our healthcare system”, but brought “innovation and transformation like never before”. A vision for the future of pharmacy, published in June, drew on the experience of RPS members, patient groups and the wider pharmacy profession during the pandemic to lay out how innovation, borne of crisis, can be embedded in pharmacy practice as the world makes its slow returns to normality.

Summer also saw the RPS share its five-year vision to improve inclusion and diversity (I&D) across the profession. “We’re asking all [pharmacy] organisations to think in a similar way, to be really clear about what they stand for and to work with their own employees to make sure that they all strive for a diverse and inclusive workforce,” RPS chief executive Paul Bennett said upon publication of the strategy.

In August, the RPS held the first meeting of its Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity group, which, I&D co-ordinator Amandeep Doll said, aims to “celebrate our diversity by bringing everyone together, [and] help us shape the [I&D] strategy”.

The same month, Clare Morrison took up her post as director for Scotland, following the retirement of Alex MacKinnon. “I honestly think this is the most exciting role in pharmacy in Scotland,” Morrison told The Pharmaceutical Journal. Morrison’s previous experience encompasses a wide range of sectors: most recently, she was the national lead for NHS Near Me, Scotland’s video consulting service.

In October, the RPS launched a consultant pharmacist credentialing programme, enabling pharmacists in England and Wales to demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to work at consultant level. It’s part of a wider pathway of consultant-level credentialing that began in January of this year, when the Society took over responsibility for the approval of consultant pharmacist posts in England and Wales.

Also in October, RPS Wales and RPS Scotland shared their manifestos ahead of the 2021 devolved parliamentary elections, with each manifesto setting out eight asks of political parties and candidates standing for election. This month also saw RPS Scotland publish its policy setting out how pharmacists can improve the care of people with mental health conditions.

As the year drew to a close, the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental wellbeing of the profession was made clear in a survey conducted by the RPS and the charity Pharmacist Support. Around a third (31%) of respondents said that the pandemic has impacted their mental health and wellbeing to a significant extent. Nine out of ten (89%) of respondents said they felt at risk of burnout — an increase compared with the 80% reported in 2019.

RPS president Sandra Gidley said that the additional pressures brought on by the pandemic had been “incredibly tough”, and noted that while RPS campaigning had led to NHS wellbeing services being opened to pharmacy teams for the first time, “We want to see this continue beyond the pandemic and extended to include access to NHS occupational health services too.

“It would be deeply unjust if support for the country’s third largest health profession, who have worked so hard this year, was simply switched off once the immediate crisis is over.”

Here are your favourite Your RPS articles of 2020:

10. RPS takes over approval of consultant pharmacist posts

9. How the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is working to support pharmacists through the COVID-19 pandemic

8. Taxidermy Nile crocodile

7. RPS approves five consultant pharmacist posts since taking over approvals process in January 2020

6. Pharmacist leading coronavirus rapid test project elected as Fellow of Royal Society

5. Visitors to pharmacies should wear face coverings, RPS says

4. How RPS members around the world are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

3. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society: what’s happening in the first half of 2020?

2. My mother, Mary Smith: a pharmacy inspiration

1. The importance of good mentoring, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

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Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Top ten articles from Your RPS in 2020;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2020.20208658

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