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RPS explanation for Ash Soni's unprecedented departure

Mr Soni's successor will be appointed on July 19

Some members requested clarification on how the president is elected, the society has said

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has responded to members’ shock at president Ash Soni’s unprecedented departure by shedding more light on its internal workings.

The RPS announced last week that Mr Soni, who has held the post for two years, “will no longer be president” beyond the society’s next assembly meeting on July 19.

Following the announcement, “some members” had “asked for clarification of the process for choosing the president”, the RPS said yesterday (June 27).

The society explained that following a vote last week, its English Pharmacy Board elected five of its pharmacists to the RPS assembly. Mr Soni was not one of those re-elected to the assembly, and therefore could not remain president, the RPS stressed.

The five pharmacists who will now be representing England on the assembly – alongside English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley and vice chair Professor Claire Anderson – are Martin Astbury, Catherine Armstrong, David Carter, Sibby Buckle and outgoing RPS treasurer Sid Dajani.

"Never happened before"

Mr Soni told C+D last Saturday (June 25) that the scenario of a current RPS president being voted off the assembly had “never happened before”.

The RPS's explanation of its internal processes did not satisfy some pharmacists, who continued to question how the assembly had been elected (see below).

Do you agree with the process which led to Ash Soni's departure?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

There is a point people are labouring to bring out here. Ash Soni is not white and this is what was unprecedented in this set up. It was only a matter of time before the law of nature took its course.There was no way a man of colour could be seen to continue as president of the RPS. FACT. Racial intolerance is at an all time high in the UK and for people to shroud this with complicated academic debate is unnecessary. The UK does not have the cultural maturity nor the tolerance to embrace diversity. In the former colonies this was said to have been caused by ignorance and lack of  education but my experiences show that this intolerance is practised right at the top. So it is truly deliberate, willful and premeditated.

It is our educated and enlightened colleagues that we encounter every day being openly racist and then they use words like "unprecedented" just to eplain away a situation. We always expect things like this and like the mature people we are we accept it and take it in our stride. Just look at the humility and integrity with which Ash accepted his fate. When the world call people from these shores hypocrites, are they wrong? no. 

As for the RPS, are they really a body representing Pharmacists? In what way? I have seen their utterances and nothing they said caters for the issues affecting practising Pharmacists at all levels. They are famous though, this year for mourning about Pre-reg Students sharing their mock exam papers, REALLY

Bipin Patel, Community pharmacist

What a shabby way to treat the President and a loss to the membership of his expertise and experience.

B akbar, Pre-reg Pharmacist

whatever Darren and Babir... you guys are probably members or "fellows" as they now call themselves. I stand by who cares !

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Such a shame to see him go. He did so much for the average pharmacist. It will be difficult to continue without him. .......

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

"He did so much for the average pharmacist."

Like what exactly?

B akbar, Pre-reg Pharmacist

well said Valentine 

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

The average pharmacist now earns less than they did 10 years ago. It's easier to be struck off. The workload is much more and we have the pleasure of MURs(400 to be precise), Zero respect from the public and health professionals uncluding other pharmacists. No autonomy(clinical decisions can be made for us by Double glazing salesman or area managers as they're called). So many wonderful things have happened under his fantastic stewardship.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist


Darren Powell, Community pharmacist

Hopefully the members care, and really all pharmacists should care.

This is our representative body, who has really pushed pharmacy in to the spotlight on many fronts, and generally doing lots of positive work for pharmacy.

The issues are raised to ensure that English Board Members remember that their role and rise to the assembly is not their personal chiefdom.

They are accountable to the membership and must be open to and actively encourage scrutiny by said membership.

Anything else would be to the detriment of themselves as professionals and representatives of our profession.

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

You're living in cloud cuckoo land. The winner of the Euro 2016 in France will make more difference to your life.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Chauhan for president!

sanjai sankar, Locum pharmacist

Lots of "positive work" for Pharmacy...? hmmm....Not really in my experience. The major issue at the moment is poor wages and highly pressurised working environments and unrealistic targets due to greed by Corporates and some owners alike....They have done very little to address that...

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Well said Sanjai!

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

No surprise. Half of them represent multiples. Money to RPS is better off straight down the toilet.

Babir Malik, Community pharmacist

Well said Darren

B akbar, Pre-reg Pharmacist

who cares !!!!

b t, Manager

Martin Astbury woud be a great President.

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