Pharmacy gripped by election fever?
By Pharmacy Magazine editor Richard Thomas
Election fever is gripping the sector. Well, I say fever – more like an irritating mild seasonal sniffle....
The RPS national board elections passed with barely anyone noticing. A paltry turnout of less than 8 per cent in England, and positions in Wales and Scotland remaining unfilled or candidates returned unopposed, is a damning indictment of pharmacy’s failing and flailing leadership body. No one seems that bothered any more.
With membership continuing to slide inexorably south, there is plenty for the independent review of member participation and communications to get its expensive teeth stuck into.
It says something when the most eye-catching suggestion during the elections involved turning the ground floor of the Society’s East Smithfield headquarters into a community pharmacy to showcase best practice and highlight everyday problems. Thanks to Sheffield stalwart Martin Bennett, perhaps tongue in cheek, for that one. Well, why not?
Meanwhile, almost two years after David Wright published his recommendations for reforming community pharmacy representation, contractors finally get the chance to have their say on the proposals put forward by the Review Steering Group (RSG).
Whether the RSG ever fully bought into Professor Wright’s bold vision is open to question. Vested interests and political expediency were always going to play their part.
While the RSG would argue that it accepted most of Wright’s recommendations and consulted widely, the big ticket items concerning governance, better connection between PSNC and local bodies through a council of LPC chairs, a new approach to strategy and policy formation, and formalised non-contractor input were all chucked in the ‘too difficult’ pile.
It feels like an opportunity lost.
Nevertheless, whether in favour of the proposals or not, the most important thing now is that contractors vote.
As we’ve seen with the RPS, to not do so would send out a terrible signal and, in that event, the sector would get the representation it deserves.