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Royal Pharmaceutical Society – English Pharmacy Board elections, 2022

The PDA want to see, and work alongside, effective professional bodies for pharmacists and we have always encouraged our members in Great Britain to join the RPS and engage in their elections.

Mon 25th April 2022 The PDA

The world of pharmacy in the UK includes many organisations that influence how the profession works. The PDA are proud to be the only independent trade union and defence association exclusively for pharmacists in the UK and to play our part, but for the sector to work best we also need the other organisations to be effective and contribute appropriately too.

The PDA want to see, and work alongside, effective professional bodies for pharmacists and we have always encouraged our members in Great Britain to join the RPS and engage in their elections.  Therefore, the PDA want to see leaders of the professional body that will help take the Society forward in a way that best represents pharmacists and puts patient care before profit.  As the RPS holds contested elections for seats on their English Pharmacy Board, we are inviting candidates to let our members know their views on key issues.

We have a different role to the Society, so we understand that we won’t always prioritise the same activities, but there are plenty of areas where the professional body and the trade union and defence association should be standing together for pharmacists and pharmacy.   For example, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are essential issues, and as the trade union, the PDA focus is naturally on EDI amongst the workforce, whereas we’d expect the professional body to focus on the implications of EDI in practice.  However there should also be a shared objective to raise awareness and educate the sector on EDI matters.

The PDA invites candidates for the English Pharmacy Board elections to let us know their views on the following key topics and we will share them for our 34,000 plus members to consider.

1. The future of pharmacy

We need the future of pharmacy to provide a rewarding career path for pharmacists that make best use of their skills and provide value to patients, the taxpayer and to the pharmacist

We need to be a respected healthcare profession that adds value in community, primary care, hospital and elsewhere.  We need to be delivering pharmaceutical care in a way that plays a vital role in the nation’s health system.

The PDA developed its “Road Map” and “Wider Than Medicines” strategies and have continued to argue for a clear role for pharmacists agreed between the profession and governments. Cutting pharmacy budgets and deskilling the role is not the answer.

The pharmacy profession needs to pursue the introduction of an agreed overarching strategy in each UK nation which incorporates appropriately trained specialist pharmacists in every sector where medicines are prescribed, supplied or administered to patients.

What are candidates’ views on the future of pharmacy?   Read the responses here

2. Safer Pharmacies

All pharmacies need to be run safely, with patient safety placed above profit. The PDA developed the Safer Pharmacies Charter for basic standards that need to be maintained at all times.

However, pharmacists tell us these standards are often not being met, with the latest annual Safer Pharmacies Survey showing a decline in all basic standards of safety.

We would welcome the RPS supporting our campaign to ensure pharmacies are safe for patients and for pharmacists, and in particular ask candidates if they will seek to have the RPS support the Charter? Read the responses here

3. Remote Supervision

The PDA have led the campaign to resist various attempts to introduce remote supervision and have successfully prevented it from being introduced thus far.  We must continue to stop the dilution of patient safety.

The RPS held an extra responsibility, as a member of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme board, to oppose any such proposals.  Those that lead the RPS need to be clear about the organisation’s position.

Will candidates commit to opposing remote supervision? Read the responses here

4. Pharmacies are important healthcare settings

The impact on patient’s access to vital medicines and expert advice resulting from avoidable community pharmacy closures cannot be highlighted enough.  The reputation of the sector is damaged when locums are available to work but business owners chose to close regardless.

The PDA is working to tackle this behaviour, however we believe this is a symptom of a much wider divide between those who would rather medicines were treated as an ordinary item of commerce and community pharmacies operated as retail outlets, versus those who recognise community pharmacies as a critical component of the health system and the most accessible part of the NHS.

What efforts would candidates expect the RPS to take to ensure community pharmacies are treated as healthcare settings? Read the responses here

5. A profession body for pharmacists

Pharmacists need a strong voice speaking up for them as the pharmacy profession.

The PDA, as the only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists, provides a strong voice in the workplace but there is also a need for an effective professional body focused exclusively on pharmacists.

The interests of patients, non-pharmacist colleagues and others all have a place, and the PDA work with many organisations that represent others, but to ensure the voice of pharmacists is heard, the RPS must also focus exclusively on the important issues as they impact upon pharmacists.

We want to see the leadership of the RPS continue to keep the professional body as the voice of pharmacists and not widen membership eligibility beyond pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy students/pre-registration trainees.

Do candidates commit to keeping the RPS membership base to current populations? Read the responses here


Voting for the election to the English Pharmacy Board will open on Friday 29 April, and we will publish any responses received from the candidates to the above questions as they are received.


Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.







The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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