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RPS membership is no token of professionalism

Joining the RPS won’t automatically make you more professional, says C+D’s newest blogger Counterspy, but you can’t change the organisation from the outside

Joining the RPS won't automatically make you more professional, says C+D's newest blogger Counterspy, but you can't change the organisation from the outside


We're used to Scotland's chief pharmaceutical officer Bill Scott being a brash Scotsman whose colourful demeanour can be seen from outer space, but last month's Scott-gate fiasco was more brash than usual – even for him. Supported by Nigel Clarke, the new chair of our regulatory body, they agree that non-members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) are not as professional as their £200-subscription-paying colleagues.


This led to many non-members sounding more and more like a broken Janet Jackson record, asking the RPS: "What have you done for me lately?" The answer, apparently, is not very much.


I don't believe for a minute that, by paying £200 a year and therefore forgoing the equivalent of a latte a week, dahling, at Waitrose, makes you more professional. Unless you use the tools available - such as joining the faculty. That's what non-members don't have at their disposal and what many employees ask you for these days.

I don't believe paying £200 a year and therefore forgoing the equivalent of a latte a week at Waitrose makes you more professional


A few of the arguments against membership were excruciatingly embarrassing because some people weren't aware the RPS had split – they thought it was still the regulator while others confused it with a union, like the BMA. I just hope these pharmacists are more clued up about other professional matters.


Just like a very nervous first-timer at speed dating, the RPS has never been good at selling itself. But that doesn't mean we don't need it. Can you imagine doctors or nurses not having a professional body? While my comments may be as welcome as an angry skunk to a royal garden party, I challenge those non-members to either put up or shut up. If they feel the existing professional leadership body is useless, then they need to either change it or say what needs to be done to make it more relevant. Ranting is rarely a defence and nor is ignorance.


Counterspy is a community pharmacist blogging on the controversial issues facing the sector


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