SHOULD I be elected, my job as a Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Pharmacy Board member would be to ensure that the voices of all community pharmacists, from those in the biggest of cities to those in the most rural of villages, from self-employed independents to employees of the biggest chains, are both heard and understood, as loudly and as clearly as possible.
As a member of both Cumbria Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) and Cumbria Area Prescribing Committee (APC), I already have experience with commissioning of local services, praising local pharmacies and the benefits they offer their communities. Nomination to the English Pharmacy Board would allow me to do this for all pharmacists across the country, championing them, their staff and the services they offer.
Community pharmacies are now more important than ever before, and we’ve proven on many occasions that we are up to the challenge of improving the health of the people of Britain. In September last year, with a few weeks’ notice, pharmacies managed to vaccinate over 500,000 patients from a standing start in the new, nationally commissioned ‘flu vaccination scheme.
In the 2009/10 bird ‘flu pandemic, yet again pharmacy stepped up to the plate and got an antiviral supply scheme up and running in an astonishing amount of time. We have shown time and again that we are great at what we do best – delivering first class healthcare in our communities. We now need a voice to make sure that those in power know that.
I’m hugely proud of what community pharmacists up and down the country do for their patients day in and day out. As a pharmacist in a family owned, independent chain, I know just how important pharmacies are in local communities and I’m determined to make sure that these services are not only protected but developed and extended to the benefit of our patients and the benefit of the NHS.
Ben Merriman is a community pharmacist and member of Cumbria LPC and Cumbria APC. He is standing for election to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board