Why did you stand for election?
I would not be standing for re-election if I didn’t feel that I had made a difference in the past, with my insight and pragmatism helping to move the Board’s deliberations forward. I have been honoured to serve for quite a few years now, and this experience has given me a fuller insight and a greater understanding of the nature of pharmacy as it is practised by colleagues in other sectors of the profession.
However, more importantly, this time has also given me a similar insight into the workings of the RPS itself and, vitally, what it can and cannot do – and how to get things done within the organisation.
As an employed community pharmacist I bring no conflicting agendas to the position as Board member, just a wealth of experience and knowledge of the job; the job that is the one done by most of our professional colleagues. If re-elected, I promise to bring hard work, honesty, frankness, pragmatism and a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position.
What do you want to change if elected?
Too many of my community pharmacist colleagues, feel that the RPS is not for them. If re-elected I will do all I can to change their perceptions, and to ensure the organisation does all it can to stem the constant erosion of professionalism that bedevils community pharmacy practice (and which undoubtedly contributes to this situation.)
I have been saying for years that, in my opinion, the RPS is too timid; too reluctant to express the views of its members. I would like to see it being much more prepared to speak out if the status quo is preventing the profession from moving forward for the benefit of our patients.
Whether we like it or not – or are even willing to acknowledge it – the current realities of community pharmacy practice all too often mitigate against professional autonomy. Obviously there are beacons of great practice, and as practitioners we have the opportunity to learn and be inspired by these, but we have to acknowledge the realities.
As an organisation we are ideally placed to help our members “be the best they can be.” However, we do the profession, and our patients, no favours by accepting – or even, worse, condoning – this status quo.
And, this brings me on to the thorny subject of the proposals to change the rules of supervision within community pharmacies and the debate that this is now generating.
It is obviously vital that any changes to the supervision regulations, under which we operate, do not pose a risk to patients. However, it is equally vital that any changes help facilitate community pharmacists becoming better placed to deliver the pharmaceutical care that is so badly needed.
If re-elected, I will do all I can to ensure that any RPS input into this important work reflects this. There are some within the higher echelons of the organisation who favour a different approach. This must change. We are a professional leadership organisation, and I would contend that it is vital that we do not adopt a position which potentially stifles professionalism, innovation and ultimately patient care.
Professionals need a strong professional leadership body, or professionalism will inevitably wither.