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Using the new RPS website

The Retired Pharmacists’ Group (RPG) Committee wishes to share its thoughts on the design and usability of the new Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) website.

Clearly, the designers of this long-awaited new website have worked hard to present a more modern look. We accept that it was necessary to make changes to the way in which the members of networking groups receive information to comply with new data protection laws. RPS staff have been helpful when we have contacted them for assistance. However, better piloting and providing comprehensive pre-launch information could have avoided most of the problems that have been encountered.

Many of our members are still confused about how and why they need to ‘Subscribe to new topics’, despite an active campaign by the RPG committee to explain. This may be the case with many of the other networking groups and, consequently, a large amount of the information being posted under ‘Discussions’ could be missed. It would perhaps have been a more intuitive route to advise members to ‘Unsubscribe’ to receiving the emails rather than having to opt in.

Both members and non-members visiting the RPS website have access to the ‘all documents and discussions’ without having to log in, posing security problems for organisers of RPG events. Although these have not been insurmountable, it does create difficulties with providing private contact details.

Additionally, all emails from the networking groups now have the generic title ‘New message from the RPS’. This has led to our members missing information we have sent out. On the old website the name of the networking group sending the email and the title of the discussion topic were given.

Participation in our activities has fallen since the launch of the new website because of the problems we have experienced with getting the information to our members. We are now fearful that our active networking group will go into decline unless a way can be found to ensure that those who wish to receive our communications, participate in exchanges of information, and attend other RPS events know how to get engaged on the website.

We urge all RPS members reading this letter to visit the RPS website and check that they have activated ‘Subscribe to new topics’ if they wish to receive the emails from their local practice forums and networking groups. If you need assistance you can find it under ‘Need help with networks?’.

Ian Simpson


Susan Eccles


Jennifer Boncey

Honorary Secretary

Beth Taylor

Past Chair

Joan Craig


Tony Cartwright

Website Moderator

Michael Beaman

Brian Matthews

Christine Hastie

Carol Lange

Rosalind Grant

Retired Pharmacists’ Group Committee

Ian Simpson

Jennifer Boncey

On behalf of the Retired Pharmacists’ Group Committee

Brian Walters, director of business development, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, responds: I would like to thank all involved in the Retired Pharmacists Group for creating such a vibrant and engaging community of retired pharmacists. We share your commitment to encouraging greater participation in all RPS networks and groups. Thank you for continuing to share your feedback on the website, which we have already made a start on addressing by creating a better online experience for members participating in the groups and networks section. In addition to improving the online experience, we will also be supporting you in stimulating demand for forthcoming events by sending out emails promoting events to all retired members. Thank you again for your letter, constructive feedback and continued hard work in bringing together retired members.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202962

Readers' comments (2)

  • This issue is extremely important in terms of the support expected by RPS members, and does merit a response from the governing body of the Society - the Assembly. Two London LPFs have submitted a question to the AGM and are desperately hoping for a constructive response that restores professionalism to contact between different specialist groupings instead of treating RPS members as no more than members of internet chat rooms. This would bring us back into line with comparable organisations.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well said. I'm glad that the RPS share our collective 'commitment to encouraging greater participation in all RPS networks and groups', but how about actually facilitating this? Members who give up literally hundreds of hours of their own time every year need the tools that make engagement and communication easier, not more difficult. The comments around supporting the RPG presumably applies to all RPS networks and groups, and so as lead for RPS South London, I look forward to understanding how that support will be provided, especially after the central RPS support was taken away last year. I strongly encourage members to urgently review their communication preferences, and ensure that they actively opt in to receive communications from the respective networks they may have thought they were already receiving. The new website requires members to actively opt in to receive 'network communications'. Follow the link below to change your preferences.

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