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Opinion

Cast your votes

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It’s that time of year again. The nominations for election to the national pharmacy boards of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) are in. Now is the time for you to vote for the members that you believe will best represent you and who will also be able to drive the bigger professional agenda forward.

The Society is your membership body and is only ever as good as the quality, contribution, commitment and enthusiasm of its members.

Never before has our profession faced so many challenges while also facing so many opportunities. We must overcome these challenges and capitalise on these opportunities. We must not let our profession or sectors within it be devalued in any way. Pharmacy can, if properly enabled, be the solutions provider for many of the NHS’s current woes.

So, the time to act is absolutely now; become involved in your membership body and help deliver a strong future for our profession. As a member, using your vote allows you to play a part in shaping the profession’s future.

After 41 years on the practising register, and spending 20 of those years on political advocacy on behalf of the pharmacy profession, I’ve learnt that pharmacy does not move forward without some considerable effort by many dedicated and enthusiastic individuals. We see many of them on the RPS national boards, which is why elections are so important.

Pharmacists join the Society for many different reasons: for the many benefits that membership brings; for the sense of belonging to the organisation; for the contribution that you as an individual can make to improve your Society and the profession; to help do a better job; and to be a strategic player in advancing the profession. Indeed, some are driven by a number of these reasons.

Whatever the reason — and each one is equally as valid — there is a simple, easy contribution that all members can make and that is to use your vote to make the difference. If you don’t, then that I believe is a missed opportunity to make things better.

The Society has a key role in moving the profession forward, in shaping the future and, dare I say, issuing challenge, where challenge is needed.

We strive to improve the position, status and recognition for all of its members and constantly push for an enhanced and better recognised role for pharmacists within our respective health and social care systems. We advocate and lobby the policymakers, politicians and governments to ensure that the profession’s voice — your voice — is heard.

We work to support members’ pharmacy practice and members’ professional development journey, we produce and publish most of the books that pharmacists use and through our standards and guidance we aim to make our members the best health professionals they can be.

Your national board members agree and set the agendas for this important work and that is why the wider membership needs to elect the best candidates to these elected positions.

The Society needs to evolve and change; we know that and are working on it. We need to become more responsive to our members’ needs, we need to communicate better to our wider membership and stakeholder base and we need to have a much stronger representative voice on behalf of the whole profession.

Strong national boards, with strong teams supporting them, can and will deliver that.

Create that strong national board by voting for the candidates that you think can work to deliver for you.

Your Society will support you but you need to support your Society; the simple act of voting is one of the valuable contributions you can make.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202639

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