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Gathering momentum

It has arrived, on time and in good working order. The prospectus forthe new professional body has now been distributed to members and manyother interested parties on behalf of the Transitional Committee, andcomments on it are invited up until 9 January 2009

It has arrived, on time and in good working order. The prospectus for the new professional body has now been distributed to members and many other interested parties on behalf of the Transitional Committee, and comments on it are invited up until 9 January 2009.

Transcom was established in the summer by the Council of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and charged with developing the outline of what the new professional body for pharmacy would offer members and how it would be structured.

The deliberations of Transcom, however, were not in isolation but based on the work of Nigel Clarke’s independent inquiry into the development of the professional body and underpinned by research carried out formally by Opinion Leader Research, two informal surveys conducted through The Journal and innumerable meetings and discussions. A great number of people have been involved.

Over 6,000 pharmacists responded to the two “Have your say!” surveys. The Journal learnt earlier this week that only around 1,300 of these pharmacists responded to both surveys, so clearly different constituencies were attracted by the different issues; the results of the second survey will be published on 13 December 2008.

So, despite suggestions from some quarters that the profession is completely disengaged, we believe that, slowly but surely, the message is getting through and, we suspect, gathering momentum.

Those who want to read a summary of what is on offer from the professional body should turn to the News feature on p618. The prospectus itself, however, is not a hard read and provides plenty of food for thought.

Key selling points will be the ability to retain the post-nominals MRPharmS and FRPharmS, which only the new body will be able to bestow,  and the support the new body will offer for those grappling with continuing professional development (which is likely to become more demanding as the years go by).

Key sticking points may be the status of pharmaceutical scientists and the structure of the governing assembly. How the Society’s Council responds to these proposals — once the membership have expressed their views in the next month or so — will clearly be significant.

Thereafter, any changes required to the Society’s Charter will have to be accepted by two-thirds of members who take part in a formal vote that is likely to take place in the first half of 2009. The serious job of asking individuals to sign up will only begin once these issues are resolved.

Finally, all this noise about the new professional body should not distract the profession from the simultaneous establishment of the General Pharmaceutical Council, which will take over the regulation of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and premises from the Society.

For a progress report of where the GPhC has got to, see the Agenda item on p624.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10040663

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