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What is it like to be a member of the GPhC Council?

Evelyn McPhail member of the GPhC Council and former Director of Pharmacy for NHS Fife.


I was honoured to be appointed by the Privy Council to the GPhC Council, after a thorough, but straight forward interview process. I felt I had a lot to give, having worked on the ground in NHS Fife for a number of years, and I wanted to play my part to support pharmacy of the future.


I know I am not the only person who wants to make a difference, I know colleagues across Scotland are brimming with ideas and experience as well. My call to you is not to dismiss yourself as someone who couldn’t do the role or to think it is beyond you. If you would like to do the job, read the application pack and consider applying to become a GPhC Council member.


In terms of my own experience, I am currently the only Scottish member of GPhC Council and my emphasis has always been to make sure that the Scottish system is understood and reflected when making decisions. Having Scottish, and indeed Welsh and English, representation is a requirement in the GPhC’s legislation, and this is absolutely fundamental to effective regulation, particularly as the health and social care systems across Great Britain are so different.


Simultaneously, it’s essential to have a wide variety of voices, backgrounds, and experiences on Council from both the registrant and lay (public) members. Under the direction of the chair our voices are always heard, respected and together we add a lot to the governance and decision-making processes.


This is also a great opportunity to get Great Britain-wide experience. Being on the GPhC Council has opened my eyes tremendously and I found I learnt a lot more about how regulation and legislation work in practice than I expected. The role draws you out of your comfort zone, particularly as it covers the wide range of areas including education, fitness to practise and inspections. You can also join one of the committees which scrutinise particular areas in more detail; I joined the finance and planning committee.


If you are worried about the time commitment needed, from my own experience I would say it is not onerous. There are ten council meetings a year and I travel down to London for the meetings and return again in one day, although you can of course stay overnight. It makes for a long day, but it is rewarding, the public council meetings are always lively and engaging and you truly are contributing.


If you care about the future of pharmacy and protecting patients and the public, and you can bring your own individual perspective, then do read the essential criteria and consider whether to apply. I would encourage you to put your hat in the ring if you think you have skills and experiences that would be valuable to the Council.


Applications will open on Monday 29 July 2019 and close at 12.00 pm on Monday 16 September. Successful applicants will take up their post on 1 April 2020. Saxton Bampfylde is acting as an employment agency advisor on these appointments. You can find out more about the roles and apply through their website at here using the code: AAEEF. Alternatively, telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880 during office hours.


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