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RPS announces national pharmacy board election results

Thorrun Govind is the youngest board member and replaces Claire Anderson as chair in England
Thorrun Govind is the youngest board member and replaces Claire Anderson as chair in England

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has announced the national pharmacy board election results, including new chairs for England, Wales and Scotland.

Thorrun Govind has been elected chair of the English pharmacy board, Cheryl Way chair of the Welsh pharmacy board and Andrew Carruthers chair of the Scottish pharmacy board, following a round of voting in today's (June 22) RPS meetings.

Each of the new positions will take effect immediately, the RPS said.

Ms Govind is the youngest person to be elected to the RPS’s English board, having served on it since 2018. She was re-elected to the board in May this year.

She replaces Claire Anderson as chair, who was also re-elected to the board last month and will serve as one of the board’s representatives to the RPS assembly, alongside Sibby Buckle, Tase Oputu and Alisdair Jones.

Martin Astbury will stay as the English board’s vice-chair.

An avid Twitter user, Ms Govind has been a vocal proponent of the profession both on social media and in the wider press, appearing on the BBC’s Newsnight and Victoria Derbyshire shows. She recently gave C+D readers advice on making better use of social media, and has been outspoken about the treatment of pharmacy students sitting exams during the pandemic.

Ms Govind is also a trainee lawyer and has served on the Lancashire local pharmaceutical committee.

Results in Wales

For the Welsh pharmacy board, Ruth Mitchell has been elected as both vice-chair and the representative to the assembly. Seconded on to the board in the hospital pharmacy position is Geraldine McCaffrey.

Newly elected Welsh board chair Ms Way has been a registered pharmacist since 1980, and Cardiff branch chair of the National Association of Women Pharmacists since 2007. She was elected as vice-chair of the Welsh pharmacy board in 2019.

Ms Way, who lives in Penarth, has also served as the principal pharmacist for two Welsh hospitals and was the Welsh representative on the Hospital Pharmacists’ Group Committee of the RPS from 1997-2000.

Results in Scotland

As of today, Kathleen Cowle becomes both vice-chair and the representative to the assembly on the Scottish pharmacy board.

Scottish pharmacy board chair Mr Carruthers has previously served as the local coordinator for the RPS in the Glasgow and Clyde region, while working as a senior pharmacist for NHS Glasgow and Clyde.

What do you think the newly elected RPS board members' priorities should be?

Sunil Patel, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

It would be interesting to know based on what criteria she was elected as chair. Everyone is referring to themselves as leaders nowadays but what merits, experience and credibility does she bring to the table? Being in the media and loud on social media and promoting oneself as a brand does not make one a leader I am afraid. In fact those who tend to promote themselves as leaders are often the ones who have no clues about leadership. The RPS should not be a platform for people to realise their ambitions. It should be a platform to use relevant experience and skillets to do the best for the membership. Who else was standing as a candidate for this role? Or was she the only only option to vote for?


Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I agree. And I voted for her last time around! Buyer's remorse!

Farmer Cyst , Community pharmacist

As chair, will Miss Govinds attention be focused on support of contractors, or support of pharmacists? Will she support the pharmacist APPRENTICESHIP programme?

***This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles***

Despite the apprenticeship programme threatening to ruin the pharmacy profession, it would help keep locum rates low for contractors. Will this affect her decision on whether to support the pharmacist apprenticeship programme?

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

At least it will good on her CV when she has left the profession all done to increase profile to her law job

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

How on earth does this this look to government?  A leader who is halfway into a new profession; one that is respected, and well-remunerated for their studies and work.    See longer comment below ! 

Farmer Cyst , Community pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted in line with C+D's community principles*

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Why has this been deleted. On her direction???!

Farmer Cyst , Community pharmacist

Exactly. Miss Govind reads the comments and reports them and c&d comply with the silly request. Is c&d able to remain impartial when the chair of England herself requests certain comments to be removed?

The info I've posted is not personal and the owner of the chain of pharmacies I've referred to (which I've not even named nor discussed the location of) is a company and not an individual. The info I've posted is not confidential either, it is common knowledge.

She will not answer whether she'll continue paying low rates to pharmacists.

Miss Govind- are you for pharmacists, or contractors?
Will your relations to a certain chain of pharmacies with terrible pay practices impact your decision on whether to support the Pharmacist apprenticeship programme?

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Well Farmer, if you're on that [email protected]@tter thing you can engage with her on there and ask her ! That would be fun ! I mean , as a leader you have to listen to the criticism too

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

If she does read the comments, I would be interested to know why a rather young inexperienced lady, (although driven and enthusiastic, which I admire) is now the 'Leader' of our profession. She won't even be in it in less than 5 years, as she is in the middle of joining a new profession. At least Professor Anderson was a life-long academic pharmacist. 

Does she intend to split Law and Pharmacy 50:50? I would doubt it. My solicitor charges £210 an hour. Most pharmacists have to knock the zero off!

Let's see what positive change she brings to the 'profession'. 

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

That is correct FC,  as someone 'down south' I did not know the information regarding her family involvement and I still don't, because as you state, you did not name the company or chain.  

I voted first time around for this young lady, and if your first paragraph is true, then I am now having 'buyer's remorse'. 

Is this the new Millenials and Generation Z (zoom) applying their cancellation culture on here now?

I am getting quite concerned about C&D and their community principles, as they call them.   Perhaps the editor would like to add a comment to us both to explain exactly what you did wrong, as after reading them, I cannot see. you were not malicious. Just stating some facts.  

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I did not know that. I hope his daughter gets the same rate as everyone else. That's only fair. 

I left the RPS at the start of this year as I only was in it for the MEP, which we didn't get last year because printing presses can't run during a virus apparently. (How much did that save?!) Plus reading the accounts and seeing the salary bill! How much?! What do they all do all day?! That was rather a shock.

And of course I liked my PJ. But the last straw was the PJ going fully online.

I am of the older generation, that used to look forward to their Friday night/ Saturday morning read of the old weekly PJ and C&D, and now we have neither. We goggle-eye at screens all day, do we really have to do it in our leisure time too?

If the PJ had had more content like the C&D/PharmacyMag I might even have paid a little bit extra for a print copy. (But I understand they have to cater to the whole pharmaceutical spectrum.) I know we are moving to a more digital society, but it is difficult when you are of early Generation X and clocked up nearly 30 years at the dispensing bench. Change is hard after Fi%ty!!! 

The following point I make, and this is in no way at all a personal attack, I would say this about whoever was in this situation (and I did vote for this lady previously myself, because of her youthful enthusiasm and energy and drive!), but how can we have a 'leader' of the profession who is halfway out of the door into a new profession? It would be like someone at the BMA who was training to be a Barrister! (From what I recall, Dr. Clare Gerada was a pretty much full-time practice GP, during her tenure as Chair of the RCGPs.)

I really do not think anyone in government is going to take much notice of any person who is supposed to be one of the top leaders of pharmacy in the country, moving into a new career? Does anyone else feel this doesn't look good? May we ask what hours the work will be? Is it Law, Monday to Friday, and the odd board meeting every month? Have I misunderstood, and it was only a part-time position anyway?

As I said, this is not meant to be a personal attack, I am just making a point about anyone in this particular situation. For example, recently Miss Govind was in an article giving advice to those who had just passed the pre-reg exam. Surely some cheeky young thing may have asked, "Should I apply for Law, or Graduate entry medicine next please?!"  

Ex Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

They don't do much anyway

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

They ought to, have you seen the salary totals!? 

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I see the lady herself or anyone from the RPS can't come on here and engage in discussions. And they wonder why their membership is sinking faster than the Titanic!

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