- Maintaining strong alliances with European allies on trade and regulation
- Removing poverty, prejudice and discrimination from the high street
- Work and pay to be secure and fair
- Responsibility to future generations
- A diverse, mixed social market economy with well-regulated private enterprise
- Provision of public services and NHS delivered through government action
- An open, tolerant and respectful society.
These values resonated so much with my current role, that I realised how far pharmacy has also moved away from the principles set out in our own manifesto of ethics and practice. We have splits and divisions within the profession, and hostility and prejudice shown to those labelled “clinical pharmacists”.
Therefore, with both pride and sadness, I am using this blog to announce that I, and a number of like-minded colleagues, am leaving pharmacy to become part of a new independent healthcare group.
We can’t yet say whether this is just a new clinical movement, or the start of an entirely different healthcare profession, but I hope the patients and customers who put us where we are will understand that we have not abandoned the principles for which they voted with their feet by bringing prescriptions to our chemist shops.
Yes, there have been calls for us to resign and stand again for re-registration, but to those who say we are traitors to our profession, who should have stood firm behind our chief pharmaceutical officer, I say that it was not an easy decision to make.
When they introduced category M payments, we didn’t speak out, and when they came with the Falsified Medicines Directive, still we didn’t speak out. So, when they introduce remote supervision and responsible technicians, there may be no one left to speak out for us.
I don’t know how many more will leave pharmacy and join us, but all are welcome. We are equally welcoming of healthcare professionals from the other side. Having taken the first step, we urge GPs and nurses to join us and end the broken two-party healthcare system. However, despite speculation, there will be no merger with GP practice pharmacists, who broke away several years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to form a third option.
It is time we dumped this country's old-fashioned view of pharmacy and created an alternative that does justice to who we are today. One that gives this country a community pharmacy service fit for the here and now – the 21st century.
As a group of networked independent healthcare workers, we’re calling ourselves The Healthcare Independent Network Group (THING).
Finally, to those bloggers and commentators on the C+D website who have said that pharmacy is a broken profession and called for some THING new and some THING different, let me say to you: that day has finally come to give us your support!
A long-running C+D contributor, the identity of Xrayser remains a mystery, but his irreverent views are known by all. Tweet him @Xrayser