I DECIDED to run for election to the English Pharmacy Board (EPB) on the basis that if you aren’t happy with where your future is headed, you should stand up and do something about it. I had ideas and goals for the profession and through taking part in debates and listening to my colleagues I’ve shaped those ideas further and I’d like to share them.
If elected I will be representing YOU. I will listen to anyone who wishes to talk to me. All your hopes, fears and ideas are unique because they’re yours and I will want to hear them. I’m open to innovative ideas. Help shape my opinions!
I’ll drive the EPB to challenge government and NHS England. The big challenge facing community pharmacy in England is quite simply the threat to the survival of the sector due to NHS England’s cuts to funding. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has a huge role to play representing the views of members to government and NHS England.
We need a unified voice for pharmacy, engaging with the Five Year Forward View and Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs). One STP board member I spoke to recently explained that their top priority was dealing with an impending lack of GPs — 80% of the GPs in their region were due to retire within the next 10 years! An opportunity to increase practice based pharmacists? Only if we engage NOW.
I’ll drive the EPB to challenge the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). There are proposals on the table regarding the interplay of the superintendent pharmacist and responsible pharmacist roles — we need any changes to allow more professional freedom. There is a fantastic opportunity to cut red tape. Why does a single-handed pharmacy need to have a full set of SOPs? What’s the actual benefit of completing the community pharmacy patient questionnaire?
I’ll strive to make the RPS more relevant to day-to-day practice. I’d like to see the development of RPS accredited Private Patient Group Directives (PGDs). These PGDs would be RPS branded, with training provided through the RPS, available to RPS members to provide as an additional offering to their current practice. A route such as Faculty membership would allow a member to provide the services. This would develop new income streams tied to the professionalism of an individual pharmacist – not the employer – A point of difference when negotiating remuneration.
I’ll strive to make Faculty membership THE route to satisfying new GPhC Continued Professional Development (CPD) requirements. The cost of faculty membership needs to come down and we must ensure that CPD entries can be seamlessly transferred into GPhC systems. Faculty membership should be the ‘Go To’ option for GPhC revalidation. These changes will make membership more relevant and provide tangible benefits to members and equally benefits to patients.
If elected, I will strive for members and the profession I love. I feel that the RPS has lost a lot of its relevance to many pharmacists, especially in the community sector. It’s time to address this and if elected I will strive to deliver this and make YOUR RPS relevant to YOU.
David Gallier-Harris is an election candidate for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board