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RPS membership sneaks up but full membership slips

Exclusive The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has seen a 3 per cent increase in its membership in the past year, but the number of full members and fellows has fallen 7 per cent, C+D has estimated.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) membership rose 3 per cent in the past year, but the number of full members and fellows fell 7 per cent, C+D has learned.

Between June 2012 and June 2013, the RPS's membership grew 1,185 to 41,962. This was driven by an increase in pre-reg pharmacists – who pay an annual fee of up to £70 – and students – who benefit from free membership, the RPS told C+D this week.

Despite the overall increase, there was a 7 per cent drop in the number of members and fellows who pay up to £192 in annual RPS fees. This follows a 14 per cent fall in members and fellows the previous year.

RPS membership in numbers

Source: RPS, June 2013

RPS spokesperson Neal Patel told C+D that the "small decrease" in the past year had been "more than made up" by the increase in associate members. Associate membership, which mainly consists of pre-reg pharmacists, grew 1,617 over the period. Student numbers rose 1,370 to 13,200.

Mr Patel added that the RPS was recruiting a "substantial number" of new members, with 1,104 people joining in the first half of this year. "Later in the summer, new pharmacists will be qualifying, which is when we expect a lot more pharmacists to join," he added.

Earlier this month, the RPS launched its faculty, a professional recognition programme that aims to provide a "quality mark" to those outside pharmacy. Also this month, the professional body confirmed it would move its headquarters to a new site in central London, saving an estimated £400,000 a year in running costs.


How could the RPS attract more fee-paying members?

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Raymond Lee, Community pharmacist

RPS needs to listen to its members - the membership is voluntary. If they don't deliver - they won't survive. RPS needs to evolve and quickly. They need to compare themselves to RCN and the BMA and measure up to the plate.

Agree they are still in the infancy, at some point they need to stand on their own 2 feet. Now is that time.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Hello Raymond - but remember both BMA and RCN are trades unions. RPS is a Royal College so you are comparing apples with oranges to an extent. A better comparison would be RCGP or any of the other Royal Medical Colleges. Against that benchmark I think the RPS is doing pretty well. So here's my challenge: Membership is hovering around 50-55%. We all know pharmacists whom we like and respect who but are NOT members. So my challenge is for every member to recruit JUST ONE non-member. That would double RPS membership and strengthen the organisation immeasurably. Anyone up for it? "Graham's Challenge" ???

Dorothy Drury, Locum pharmacist

We need a professional organisation like the BMA which represents only qualified PHARMACISTS and aims to improve working conditions and terms of employment. I understand we now have" members" of the RPS who can't get jobs and are working at fast food outlets. A faculty may give them an extra qualification and letters after their name but it still wouldn't help them get a job till we get away from "an organisation representing pharmacy."

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Clearly the PDA are the medium for representing employee pharmacists per se and they do a good job too.

The RPS and PDA can work collaboratively with areas of common concern regarding the profession while maintaining their distinctive but equally important roles within the profession.

Underrated Professional, Locum pharmacist

As the song says, 'What have you done for me lately?..........Oh Yeah..........'

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Good to see a rise albeit in associate membership. I renewed my RPS membership since the disbanding of the RPSGB regulatory role and don't mind as it is a monthly direct debit. I will give it a year and see how it progresses. I wish the RPS luck and hope it can do more for its members.

Vikesh Kakad, Hospital pharmacist

Agree. I've renewed my membership too. I personally believe that the RPS is in its infancy and will deliver more in the coming years. Let's not forget that it's goverened by pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists like you and I, and they share the same enthusiasm for the profession like you and I.

As a membership organisation it's in their best interest to listen to and act upon their members views. On that note- I will make sure that my voice is heard, by responding to their consultations, attending my RPS local practice forums and other RPS events. And if I had to say to the RPS, " what have you done for me lately"?, I'd sure want the RPS to tell me back " what have to asked for lately". Just like meerkat goes- simplez!

Old Timer, Manager

No Shit Sherlock fewer want to pay for membership but all eligible free members say count me in ,bit of a non story here .

Vikesh Kakad, Hospital pharmacist

Hey- could you clarify what do you mean by eligible free members?

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