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RPS says faculty will boost pharmacy's credibility

Practice The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has officially launched its faculty programme and pledged it will boost the profession's credibility among commissioners and patients.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has pledged that its faculty programme will boost the profession's credibility among commissioners and patients.

The professional recognition programme would provide a "quality mark" to those outside pharmacy, faculty head Peter Kopelman told the official launch event at the Royal Society of Medicine yesterday (June 5).

The society revealed further details of the faculty for post-registration development, first announced in January, including an annual fee and a cost of £300 for each assessment, as well as the use of post-nominals.

The RPS argued that the faculty should increase pharmacy's chances of securing services under the new NHS ‘any qualified provider' model

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The faculty should increase pharmacy's chances of securing services under the new NHS ‘any qualified provider' model, argued Professor Kopelman, a doctor who is also principal of St George's, University of London. A national set of standards would boost pharmacy's credibility, he stressed.

"I think the timeliness of the faculty relates to the changes in the health service and the importance of the recognition of pharmacy as a pivotal part of healthcare," he told C+D.

Professor Kopelman said it would also put the RPS on an equal footing with royal colleges. "It reflects [other] faculties within royal colleges and the importance is that it's a quality mark," he explained. "It's really establishing the recognition of pharmacy as a profession."

Professor Kopelman told C+D that the RPS had run an extensive consultation with the hospital, community and industry sectors before launching the programme and registrants had been "the most important" group when seeking views.

Employers should recognise the qualifications, which would enable pharmacists to progress as well as "change track" to follow different career paths within the profession, Professor Kopelman explained.

Professor Kopelman acknowledged that some pharmacists would initially be reluctant to join the scheme, but expressed hopes that the vast majority of RPS members would eventually become part of the faculty. He added that the faculty's success would be judged by the number of members.

The faculty programme: your questions answered

What will the programme involve?

All members with two years of practice will be able to join the faculty, which will give access to a range of tools and resources. This will include an advanced practice portfolio, professional development frameworks, professional curricula, mentoring and support from the RPS. Once registrants have completed the training, they will be able to take assessments to achieve one of three levels of qualification.

What recognition will pharmacists receive?

The three levels of qualification – stage one faculty member, stage two faculty member and faculty fellow – will be awarded through post-nominals. The RPS says this will enable pharmacists to demonstrate their development and advancement to colleagues, other health professionals and the public.

How much will it cost?

Assessments will cost £300 each. There will also be an annual fee to retain the use of post-nominals, which will vary according to level of qualification. Stage one faculty members will pay a renewal fee of £50, while stage two members will pay £75 and faculty fellows will pay £100.

What RPS members say

"I think it is wonderful because it's about pharmacists developing their clinical skills. It is good for patients and the public." Graham Phillips, contractor and RPS Board member

"I'm hopeful that it's going to give us a vehicle to help us move forward and help pharmacy. I would be very interested in seeing what the faculty has got to offer, and how I can benefit from it and put into it." Nick Hunter, chief officer, Nottinghamshire, Doncaster and Rotherham LPCs

"I don't have much time. Until there's protected learning time, it's always going to be a bit of a pipedream." Andrew Archibald, owner, Newtons Pharmacy, Hull

Will you join the RPS's faculty?

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Raju Patel, Community pharmacist

The concept of paying every year to keep post-nominals is very demoralising at a time when pay / funding is tough for both employed and self-employed pharmacists. I think the whole thing is a good idea in principle, but the current plan needs urgent review oi it stands a chance of attracting a significant engagement from members.

Gordon Adamson, Hospital pharmacist

Too costly, i don't think you should pay to keep a qualification you have already gained.

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

What planet are the RPS on? To paraphrase Dirty Harry.... " The're a legend in their own mind "

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

This is a great step forward for those RPS members that wish to gain formal accreditation for their expertise to pursue that goal. Well done and a step in the right direction.

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