PJ Online | PJ Letters: The Society
The Pharmaceutical Journal
From Mr D. I. Simpson, FRPharmS
You urge members to shake off their consultation fatigue and make their views known on the future of the Society (PJ, August 17, p202). That is a reasonable sentiment. But the problem is that those in control of the modernisation process do not seem to take the slightest notice of anything that members say. I have pointed out on several occasions the last time being in a letter published in the 10 August issue (p190) that it is wrong to claim that regulatory functions as defined by Kennedy represent the large majority of the Society's activities, and yet the same myth is repeated in an unsigned article from the "Society" in the PJ this week.
Time without number have members pointed out that the Society is a hybrid body with representational and regulatory functions, yet the latest consultation document on Council elections and membership (included in the 10 August issue) compares the Council only with the governing bodies of regulators.
One telling observation that can only be made by readers of the Chemist & Druggist (which has also published the Society's article) is that the same inappropriate word has been used in the article as in the recent letter from the chief pharmacist (PJ, August 3, p158). The chief pharmacist says that while the Council could delegate tasks it could not "abrogate" responsibility for them. The "Society" article, as published by the Chemist & Druggist, says: "The Council cannot abrogate its responsibilities by delegating them away." So it is now abundantly clear to me, if it was not before, that the modernisers are in cahoots with the Department of Health. (In the PJ article "abrogate", which means annul, has been edited to the more appropriate "abdicate".)
One further point the article is represented as the Society's response to a statement put out by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, the National Pharmaceutical Association and the Young Pharmacists Group. How can it be the Society's response? The only decision that the Council has made so far is that the Society should continue as a representative and regulatory body. Who exactly is deciding policy nowadays?
Apropos, Mr Mallinson's apologia for the Modernisation Steering Group last week (PJ, 24 August, p249), it would have been helpful if he had made it clear that he was a member of that self-same group. Mr Mallinson claims that people who held positions of authority within the Society quickly lose touch when no longer in office. I hope that does not apply to him, following his failure to gain re-election to the Society's Scottish Executive (PJ, 29 June, p936).
From Mr J. R. Martin, MRPharmS, and others
We notice from the pull out section in your issue of 10 August that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Modernisation Steering Group proposes under Section 8.1 that the current "voluntary" code of conduct for Council members becomes compulsory. This would give the Council the power to remove from their properly elected position any member who refused to sign the code.
We have used inverted commas around the word "voluntary" because we notice on p199 of the same issue that Sultan Dajani has decided that he has had to sign the code in order to be allowed to carry out large elements of the position to which he was elected. The Council has stopped him effectively representing the members that elected him. His freedom of speech has been to all intents and purposes suppressed; that the Council should wish to cause that is a worrying sign.
The steering group proposes to allow the Council not only to bind Council members to the code, but also to remove any who are believed to be "hindering" the work of the Council. Presumably anyone who ventures a difference of opinion and so causes debate or any slowing up of, or moderation of, the latest imposition from any steering groups, committees, or Council (presenting its otherwise unified front) could be labelled a hindrance.
The steering group and the Council would quote corporate governance as the necessary driving force behind this proposal; however, in this case it would come at the expense of democracy within the profession. No one wishing to put forward a new or different view to the current incumbents would bother to stand for election as they would be removed as soon as they attempted to make those changes. No radical member, having been elected to the Council, would be able to represent their electorate. This code would be yet another move away from the representation of pharmacists by the Council and towards their regulation. If anyone doubts this scenario, simply look at the Council's current handling of the "voluntary" code which has been swift, drastic and without appeal.
Sadly, both history and biology tell us that any organism or organisation which cannot respond to external change when it occurs, dies. We would be sad to see the profession of pharmacy go that way. The only acceptable and sustainable policy for a continued democratic Society is to allow each member to state their positions and opinions without censure or hindrance from the Society. Similarly, once elected, they must be allowed into all the positions open to any elected Council member and not prevented by other members who have no more mandate than any other.
Andrew J. Williamson
Jahn Dad Khan
Send your letter to The Editor
Previous Topic (Modernisation)
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20007546
Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press