There are all kinds of reasons for joining a voluntary membership body like the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). Many members like the sense of belonging it brings, especially if they work in isolation, while others do it purely for the benefits and services that are part and parcel of the membership, such as this publication. Some members share a strong sense of identity with their profession, and are keen to influence its future direction. Of course, some members are motivated by several of these factors, one or even possibly none.
Much of the Society’s work focuses on improving the recognition of pharmacists and negotiating an enhanced role for pharmacists within healthcare in the UK. This involves devising campaigns to influence government and policymakers — priorities are set and an agenda agreed. The national pharmacy boards set the agenda for England, Scotland and Wales, and members elect representatives to the three national pharmacy boards each year.
The 2014 pharmacy board election saw 10.9% of members vote across Great Britain, a pretty poor turnout by any analysis. All those involved in the Society are seeking to improve this engagement.
So, if you agree with the agenda of the Society, ask questions, hold your elected representatives to account and look for ways that you can help it succeed. If you disagree with this agenda, speak up and have your voice heard. Find a candidate that best represents your views. Vote.
One way to be heard is to write a letter to this journal. It will be read by the leadership of the Society and by many of your fellow members, it will be discussed, your view will be considered. Your elected representatives are accessible and you can influence the direction of your professional body.
If you are the kind of member who wants to take a lead yourself, now is the time to think about standing for election to the RPS national pharmacy boards. The nomination process is now open and closes on 27 March 2015.