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Separation of functions

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 265 No 7114p394
September 16, 2000 Letters

The Society

Separation of functions

From Mr A. R. Cox, MRPharmS, and Mr H. R. Fox, MRPharmS

SIR,-We welcome, in "Broad Spectrum" (PJ, August 26, p293), John Ferguson's articulate defence for the unique standing of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the emphasis he places upon the Council's role in its stewardship. He makes the Council's function with regard to Statutory Committee referrals very clear for all your readers and we are indebted to him for this. We would also like to note that, far from relegating him to the Mesozoic era, we count Mr Ferguson very much among the men of today.
From the debate over regulatory mechanisms, which we hope our article will stimulate, there might arise a variety of suggested alternative structures. We explore one possible form that separates the function of democratic representation from that of disciplinary procedure, which we believe is desirable. Proposals for any reform on this front, contrary to Mr Ferguson's expressed fear, might even bring us in closer juxtaposition to the mantle and spirit of the European Charter.
Our article was not written in haste, neither was it written lightly. Others also appear to share our strong belief that this issue needs wider debate. Clive Jackson and Bryan Veitch, in their recent article "Delivering professional competence - options for pharmacy" (PJ, June 17, p928-9) raise a similar question by asking: "Is it appropriate for a single body to lead the development of competency frameworks and then to be responsible for professional self-regulation of individuals working to them? If not, what alternative approaches might be considered?"
If we are to place a literal interpretation upon the Government's expressions of intent with regard to self regulation among the professions then it might be prudent for the Society to have in place a plan for the separation of its own representative and regulatory functions.
Any case we could make for the separation of these functions might be underwritten and amplified by Mr Ferguson's clarification of the Council's roles, for here there surely exists a potential conflict of interest.
Whatever our separate views, we must all of us agree that debate within this most welcome and independent forum, at present afforded us by The Pharmaceutical Journal, will beneficially serve to stimulate the membership's interest in the Society's future.

Anthony Cox
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Howard Fox

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20002842

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