THE British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) represents pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees and is one of the oldest representative membership bodies in the country. Now in its 74th year, the BPSA continues to work with a wide range of sponsors, stakeholders and interest groups to represent, educate, and entertain the pharmacists of the future.
But how does the BPSA decide on its policies, act on them, and run a full programme of services?
The BPSA is a democratic body; policies are decided by delegates at the Annual General Meetings – otherwise known as Annual Conferences. If voted in, policies are active for a period of three years; thereafter, they must be debated again. Delegates also vote in an executive of nineteen members, which is responsible for enacting policy across the following year.
In addition, the executive has responsibility for administering the association’s services, including 10 day-long conferences for undergraduates, two day-long conferences for pre-registration trainees, many publications, the Professional Development Scheme (PDS), and negotiating with a wide variety of stakeholders, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to help members take advantage of a wider variety of third party services.
The executive are, first and foremost, the advocates for MPharm and oversees assessment pharmacists’ assessment programme (OSPAP) students and pre-registration trainees, and they work with stakeholders to help improve services and prospects for current and future pharmacy students. Notable work has been carried out with Health Education England, the GPhC, the UK Border Agency and the RPS to name but a few.
BPSA Executive members have contributed to proposals for the integrated, five year MPharm degree, which will aim to ensure a sustainable supply of highly trained registered pharmacists to fill developing roles for pharmacists. In addition, the BPSA Executive routinely works with the GPhC to review feedback from the registration assessment, ensuring that it appropriately assesses trainees’ competence to practice.
The BPSA also worked with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the UK Border Agency to ensure non-EEA students were able to apply for a visa to complete their training in Great Britain, a commitment which they are continuing to action following the 73rd Annual Conference in Liverpool.
The BPSA Executive would not be able to perform its duties without the decisions made by MPharm and pre-registration members, and it is in their service that they advocate policies at a professional, strategic and national level throughout the year.
Michael Champion is a pharmacy student at the University of East Anglia, secretary general at the British Pharmaceutical Students Association (BPSA), and student and social media lead at east Anglia Local Practice Forum (LPF).
Follow Michael @MJChampion293