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RPS proposes widening membership to include pharmacy technicians

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) intends to expand its membership eligibility to include pharmacy technicians as well as pharmacists, for “a more unified approach to pharmacy leadership”, it has announced.  

Forming a single leadership body for both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians would “amplify pharmacy’s collective professional voice to employers, other professions, and governments”, the RPS wrote today (October 5) in its response to a call for evidence by the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership.

The chief pharmaceutical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland established the commission earlier this year in May, to “produce a briefing for the purpose and functions for professional leadership in pharmacy for the future”.

Read more: Former GPhC chair heads up commission on pharmacy professional leadership

Pharmacy professionals were invited to complete the commission’s call for evidence survey, with the responses expected to “inform and develop the commission’s recommendations”.

Being represented by one body would allow both professions to “capitalise” on their “strengths, and ultimately achieve parity in opportunity, as well as improving pharmacy practice and patient care”, the RPS wrote.


Vision requires authority of independent commissioners


However, the RPS acknowledged that “this is an ambitious vision, the realisation of which we cannot achieve alone”.

It also recognised that “the professional leadership body we describe would be a significant evolution of the current RPS”, it added.

“This would require consulting with members on any future changes needed, including to our name and Royal Charter, and we are open to this.”

Commenting on the submission, RPS chief executive Paul Bennett set out further plans for how this would be achieved.

Read more: RPS mulls offering personal professional indemnity insurance to members

“We will develop and implement post-registration curricula and credentialing for all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working with patients and the public,” he said. “To do this, we will require formal delegation of authority by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).”

To “reinforce professionalism”, he added, “we want revalidation linked to these credentials so pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must demonstrate their competence at the level at which they actually practise”.

The current “one size fits all approach” utilised by the GPhC for revalidation “needs to change”, he said.


RPS: “We haven’t always been clear in communicating our ideas”


Reflecting on the submission, Mr Bennett also acknowledged that the body has not “always been clear in communicating our ideas to members and our external stakeholders”.

However, “through the commission, and our own independent review of member participation and communications, we are determined to remedy this”, he added.

“We’re committed to lead pharmacy in the best interest of patients and the professions. This means that sometimes we will need to take difficult decisions.”


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