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One true voice for pharmacy

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) must overtly support all sectors of our profession, address our issues and capitalise upon opportunities.

There is confusion as to the role of a professional body. The RPS is not the regulator, negotiator or trade union. We have organisations fulfilling these roles. Historical lack of professional leadership has left a vacuum. While the RPS is not the regulator, union, etc, it is not acceptable to say those issues are for the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) to deal with.

There are real threats facing our profession requiring the RPS to lead on collaborative workstreams with the other pharmacy organisations. Not the ‘kumbaya style’ meeting the GPhC held for workplace pressures, but a clear stance, led by our professional body to challenge government, the GPhC, commissioners and employers. The RPS should work with the PDA on items such as conditions, workplace pressures and locum rates. We need collaboration with all organisations challenging funding cuts. This will prevent confused messages from the pantheon of pharmacy organisations, enabling a true voice for pharmacy, led by the RPS.

There has been a public attack on our community sector. The RPS must challenge the cuts from a patient safety/service perspective and challenge the chief pharmaceutical officer over his role. We need practical support for the development of new services (including private) and leadership support for members to engage in emerging sustainability and transformation plans and new models of care; ensuring pharmacy is integrated. This approach must be replicated to support other sectors.

The views of all levels of our membership must be heeded and acted upon, including those of future pharmacists. We have a large locum workforce which is often forgotten. Locums are in a precarious position with funding cuts, IR35 changes and oversupply of pharmacists. It can be difficult to operate as autonomous professionals with the threat of cancelled bookings and replacement by someone who will play ball. Locums need support from the RPS, too.

I will utilise relationships to develop collaborative workstreams and a clear cohesive voice for our profession led by the RPS. I will maximise use of communication channels to increase engagement with coalface membership. I will fight to protect our invaluable community network, publicly challenge government’s and the chief pharmaceutical officer’s portrayal of our profession. I will ensure locums are supported and will fight to get voting rights for our student and preregistration trainee members in future elections.

Stephen Riley

Election candidate, English Pharmacy Board

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The candidate letters for the RPS national pharmacy board elections have not been edited by The Pharmaceutical Journal

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202755

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