For the past three years I have been serving as an elected member of the English National Board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and for the past year the Society’s Assembly. The nominations for the 2016 elections closed on the First of April at 12:00, and I made the difficult decision not to submit my nomination.
Significant workplace responsibilities and pressures over the next 12 months, as well as challenging work as Chair of Governors at a local school, have led me to regretfully decide that the wisest choice is not to stand at this moment in time. If I was to serve on the RPS board, I would wish to do so at full capacity. The members who elect Board Members should accept nothing less.
I will attend my last assembly and board meetings this month. Over the past 3 years under the leadership of David Branford and Sandra Gidley, and the Presidency of Ash Soni, I have seen the board become more tightly focused, with a series of successful campaigns (such as the Pharmacists in GP surgery campaign) to raise the awareness of the role of pharmacists in new and existing roles. It has also become a more responsive organisation, dealing with multiple consultations and media enquiries.
It has been a pleasure to work with the staff at the Society, who deeply care about pharmacists, and with my fellow elected board members. Working in different sectors, the board pull together for the good of all pharmacists. I have learnt much from both staff and fellow board members, and I hope that my contribution over the past 3 years years has been useful.
The Society has also completed a complex move to a new headquarters. Despite celebrating its 175th anniversary this month, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is still in many ways a new organisation, finding its feet after many years of a difficult dual role as a regulator and professional body. Much work remains to be done to secure the long-term future of the organisation, and take the final step to Royal College Status. I see the continued development of the Society’s Faculty as a crucial part of this strategy.
After years of slow motion, a number of changes in education, technology, and NHS funding structures are changing the environment pharmacists are working in faster than ever before.
It has been said many times that pharmacy has been at a crossroads, it now appears to be in a Formula 1 race. It is the Society’s role to support pharmacists through this challenging time, which has both significant opportunities and threats. Certainly, in my talks with pharmacists, the individual pressures they are under seem ever higher. There has never been a greater need for a professional leadership voice.
I wish those who have submitted nominations good luck in the coming elections. They should find it hard work, but rewarding.
I would like to thank Helen Gordon, the RPS Chief executive, Howard Duff, Dr Catherine Duggan, all the staff I have met and worked with, and my fellow board members. Finally, and most importantly, many thanks to those who voted for me back in 2013, and who placed faith in me.