By Rob Darracott

This year’s pharmacy election season has not been a classic. Bad behaviour via social media in the RPS English Pharmacy Board election did not see the profession at its best. Without dwelling on the matters that led the Society’s chief executive to issue a post-election statement of disappointment, the online “debate” did cover one issue that deserves a fresh look: term limits.

In an election, incumbents have a clear advantage. It can be as simple as name recognition, but when you only need a few hundred votes, waxing lyrical about your “achievements” in office might be enough. Neophyte candidates can win – Thorrun Govind (EPB) and Reena Barai (NPA) both triumphed first time as strong female candidates, but individual successes are hardly cause for celebration unless they are followed by others.

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By David Gallier-Harris, a member of the DHSC’s rebalancing board, writing in a personal capacity

The superintendent pharmacist/responsible pharmacist consultation from the rebalancing board reviews the current legislation and proposes moving much from primary legislation to professional regulatory control.

One result of these proposals is that failure to comply with a new mixture of GPhC standards, rules and regulatory guidance would become fitness to practise matters, rather than criminal offences, as is currently the case.

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By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine.

This month saw the publication of two major reports, polar opposites in terms of scope and purpose, yet each with potentially significant implications for the sector.

The National Audit Office investigation into last year’s unprecedented hike in generics prices runs to 28 pages and contains a wealth of detail and market analysis – but little in the way of meaningful explanation.

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By Stephen Fishwick, NPA head of communications.

Eight in 10 people believe NHS access has been eroded in the past decade, but our new report, See You Sooner, suggests community pharmacy can help reverse this trend.

The report argues that one cost-effective way to release more capacity into the system would be to develop community pharmacies as neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres – offering support that encompasses prevention, treatment for common ailments, health surveillance and the routine medicines management of long-term conditions, in collaboration with patients’ GP practices. This would have a positive, unblocking effect elsewhere in the health and social care system, with each provider and professional group playing to their strengths.

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By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine.

In these difficult times for the sector, our representative bodies should be firing on all cylinders as never before. Yet are they?

Community pharmacy continues to have little meaningful impact on policy in the corridors of power despite what Sandra Gidley says in a recent interview in Pharmacy Magazine. The fact there are no community pharmacy representatives on Jeremy Hunt’s working group on medication safety is just the latest example of this, while the gap between the profession’s leaders and pharmacists at the coalface seems wider than ever.

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