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  • From the Archives: pharmacists' views on the new National Health Service

    The National Health Service (NHS) celebrates its 70th birthday on 5 July 2018. In January 1948, The Pharmaceutical Journal opened with a rousing message from Jean Kennedy Irvine, the Society’s first woman president. [1] “Will [this year] be an “Annus mirabilis?” she wrote. “It can be if we pharmacists, standing on the threshold of a new era for pharmacy, are prepared to put the old world, with its animosities, passions, prejudices, and habits, behind us.”

    The editorial that followed warned pharmacists to be “fully prepared for the opportunities of 1948.” An increase in prescriptions was certain, and supply of “adequate qualified staff” would pose a challenge.

    “The long-term policy should be the remodelling of our pharmacies on the best Continental lines, adapted to British requirements,” the editorial continued, and added that the NHS Act emphasised the importance of the dispensing department, the “outstanding feature of the pharmacy […] for by no other means [could] pharmacy hope to emerge as a profession parallel with that of medicine or dentistry.”

    In letters to the editor pharmacists shared their views on the NHS: “With the advent of the National Health Service now is the time to build anew,” a reader assuming the name of Labor Omnia Vincit wrote. “Mr Aneurin Bevan is a supporter of the well-qualified […]. But what will he and his advisers think pharmacy is worth, if we still say that a two-years’ course is adequate, when medicine demands nearly six years, dentistry four years […].” [2]

    I.H.Williams warned that “with the approach of the ‘Appointed Day’ … the one-man pharmacy is threatened with criticism from all sides if he is unable to cope with the onrush of clients all queueing up to take advantage of the free treatment offered to them.” [3]

    “Will the pharmacist’s present low status be in any way improved under the new scheme?” asked F.G.Tolman. “I have had 4 years’ hospital experience plus 17 years in retail, and I know that by both the general public and by the medical and other professions the retail pharmacist is still regarded as a common or garden tradesman. In the hospital world he shines among the lesser lights of the institution […]. [T]he pharmacist’s status in society is still no better than it was 20 years ago.” [4]


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More Royal Pharmaceutical Society views

More Royal Pharmaceutical Society news

  • Advice about beta-blockers

    4 June 2018: Helen Williams, spokesperson on cardiovascular medicine at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, spoke to the Daily Mail about beta-blockers. “Beta-blockers can cause a general slowing down in metabolism, which can be more noticeable with the first few doses, then settles down,” Williams said.

  • Stability in generics pricing needed Subscription

    8 June 2018: Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Board, spoke to the Daily Mail about a National Audit Office (NAO) report into NHS spending on generic medicines in primary care. “This NAO investigation brings clarity to an issue which has hit community pharmacists hard over the past year … We must have greater stability in generic prices – without it pharmacists struggle, CCGs are left in debt and patients suffer,” Gidley said.

  • Drug development isn't cheap

    7 June 2018: Claire Thompson, deputy chief scientist, spoke to ITV News at Ten about the investment needed for drug development. Thompson provided context to news of Pfizer and Flynn Pharma winning their appeal against a fine imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority, for increasing the price of phenytoin sodium. “It can take around 15 years and more than £1bn to develop a drug,” Thompson said.

  • Go to pharmacy first for minor short-term conditions

    14 May 2018: Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, spoke to BBC Radio West Midlands radio about the impact of NHS England’s consultation on over-the-counter medicines that should not be routinely prescribed. “Pop ...

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  • Tribute: David Lawrence Lamb (Lawrie) Robertson

    I join with colleagues in paying tribute to Lawrie Robertson who sadly passed away on 9 April 2018 after a long illness. Lawrie was a highly regarded and well respected pharmacist, a profession he was extremely proud to be a member of, and had been, for over 60 years. After registration in 1955, his early dabbling in the pharmaceutical industry probably only served to reinforce his commitment to a lifelong career dedicated to community pharmacy. As an independent contractor, he eventually ...

  • Deaths: David Lawrence Lamb (Lawrie) Robertson

    On 9 April 2018, David Lawrence Lamb (Lawrie) Robertson MRPharmS, aged 88, of Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Mr Robertson registered with the Society in 1955.

  • Deaths: James Alexander Smith

    On 10 April 2018, James Alexander Smith FRPharmS, aged 97 years, of Crawley, West Sussex. Mr Smith registered with the Society in 1942 and was conferred Fellowship in 1992.

  • New Society Fellows

    In accordance with the powers vested in it, the panel of Fellows appointed under Section 4 of the Society’s Regulations has designated the following 25 members as Fellows of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for Distinction in the Profession of Pharmacy: Stephanie Allen Jay Barend Badenhorst Evelyne Marie Paule Beech Carole Ann Blackshaw Christopher Nigel Brown Richard Stephen Brown Cathy Lesley Cooke Alastair ...

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