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Why Keith Ridge's speech showed he has lost his way

Hitesh Patel: Keith Ridge just couldn't bring himself to say "community pharmacists"

Contractor Hitesh Patel gives Keith Ridge his vote for villain of the year and questions whether he understands pharmacy at all.

I read with great interest the launch of C+D's initiative to find the most influential person in community pharmacy. But it was with amazement that I read Keith Ridge was voted the most influential person in 2013.

Surely in 2017, he would get the top spot for community pharmacy villain of the year? The top three names in my list of villains, without a shadow of a doubt, would be Mr Ridge, Jeremy Hunt, and a latecomer in the form of Philip Hammond, after that infamous letter to Theresa May.

One would think that Mr Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer (CPO) for England, would be representing all the sectors of pharmacy. I attended his conference in London last month and in his speech he only mentioned community pharmacy once, and that was to berate us for only having four pharmacies rated 'excellent' out of 8,000 General Pharmaceutical Council inspections.

The man just couldn't bring himself to say "community pharmacists", even when asked about training independent prescribers in community pharmacy. Not that any community pharmacists in the audience – who were a very small minority – were at all surprised by his attitude. He has been the villain of the piece ever since he put his name to the [pharmacy funding cut] letter of December 17, 2015.

He could really learn something from Rose Marie Parr, the CPO for Scotland. With all pharmacists being trained to become independent prescribers by 2023 and almost every aspect of community pharmacy being supported in Scotland, I would be happy to give her my vote as an influential person. It would be really useful for the CPO of England to tell us what he has in mind for us, so we can decide if we want to emigrate north of the border, before Hadrian's Wall gets rebuilt.

A friend of mine who works for NHS England gave me some friendly advice. They said the only way to get things done is to work constructively with the people at the top, and not to antagonise them with our moaning. But I cannot see how we can work constructively with people who ignore more than two million signatures.

The CPO of England has lost his way and needs to consider his position if he cannot publicly support community pharmacy.

Hitesh Patel is a contractor in London

9 Comments

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Anyone who hasn't actually done a real shift in a real pharmacy in the last few years cannot possibly understand the mess the industry is in.

Hitesh hits the nail on the head. 2 MILLION signatures and still refuse to accept that you could have been wrong? Absolutely disgusting!

The people at the bottom don't count and the people at the top don't care!

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/opinion/correspondence/is-the-chief-pharmaceutical-officer-of-england-serving-patients-and-the-profession-well/20202812.article

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

This from the Daily Telegraph.. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/26/exclusive-philip-hammond-jeremy-hunt-tell-theresa-may-secret/

Hackney Drug Dealer, Community pharmacist

Anytime Keith Ridge wants to step out of the office and into the real world I'd be happy to offer him a weeks locum and let him deal with matters at the coal face. Far too removed from reality up in the ivory towers, too easy to pontificate on matters about which he knows not. Disgusting disservice to front-facing professionals.

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

Who the heck elected Keith Ridge? AKA. Pharmacy's answer to Donald Trump?

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Hitesh you are 100% correct. Ridge is out to destroy community pharmacy as we know it. He thinks he can remake it as a hospital pharmacy type service, with dispensing hubs and the like. Unfortunately, his area of expertise is purely hospital pharmacy. He has absolutely no knowledge of community pharmacy whatsoever. Can you imagine what would happen if the chief executive of the Royal College of GP's went round saying there are too many GP practices and what we should do is close 25% of them by indiscriminate financial attrition? There would be uproar and he would not remain the chief of the RCGP for very long. Ridge out! Let's get him out! This man will ruin community pharmacy in England.

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Good luck mate. No chance of ousting someone like him from his sweet little job. They are all in cahoots, and as a single community pharmacist, you are effectively a bottom-feeder who has no control over what happens at the surface of the pond.

Chris Mckendrick, Community pharmacist

To be fair Hitesh, of your list of villains, C3PO only does what he's programmed to do, Jabba the Hunt has always been a trouble maker for his own ends, and Can't-count-Dooku was so intent on writing poisoned pen letters he forgot his own manifesto promises. No the real twist was MaySwindle turning out to be a Sith Lord rather than the Jedi Master we all hoped for. Should have known - leather trousers always a bit of a give away. "Execute Order 66!"

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

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