Annual review 2009

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President's message

The presdient

"This is the last Annual Review of the activities of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, as both regulator and representative body. In the coming months, the Society will take on its new role of providing respected and valued leadership for a profession that is also changing. A profession that is rightly acquiring more clinical activities, such as public health screening, monitoring of long term conditions and prescribing, while continuing to fulfi l its trusted roles of providing expert opinion and unbiased advice on the safe and effective use of medicines.

Over the last year, the Society has made huge progressin shaping the new professional body while at the sametime carrying out its day to day work and raising the profile of pharmacy within Whitehall, Westminster, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly and the media.

With the help of our members, we have fought campaigns against inappropriate criminalisation, we are working with others to address the current problems with medicines shortages and have partnered with stakeholder organisations to raise awareness of the dangers associated with taking counterfeit medicines. Our signifi cant efforts on workplace pressures have highlighted a number of validated tools that can be used by employers, chief pharmacists, superintendents or
individual pharmacists to benchmark and monitor workloads, and we are now working in collaboration with the National Patient Safety Agency to identify safety issues arising from such pressures.

Our new professional body will need to work in partnershipwith other professions to shape a healthcare landscape that encourages collaborative working that puts the needs of the patient first.

It will also need to work constructively with other bodies that represent pharmacists in their myriad of specialist areas of practice, and with the new regulator to ensure appropriate and proportionate regulation.

Having relinquished our regulatory responsibilities, our newprofessional body will be able to use the new and improved processes and structures that have been established over the last 12 months to move ahead with pace, energy and agility to far better represent and serve our members.

At the British Pharmaceutical Conference in September I introduced the Society’s commitments to its members.  I believe that they clearly set out what we stand for, and what we will achieve for our members. They have helped us to focus our activity and, thanks to our new electronic member surveys, we can turn our members’ wishes into action in a very short timescale.

My tenure as President of the RPSGB is coming to an end, and I am very proud of what has been achieved. I would like to thank all of those talented people at the Society who have worked so hard to provide the strategic direction for the new professional body and the practical application to ensure that the necessary targets and milestones have been reached. Above all, I would like to thank our passionate membership who have given the time, support, views and opinions that will contribute so much to building an organisation that fully responds to their needs – an organisation that delivers on its promises."

From the Chief Executive

Jeremy Holmes

"2009 was the last full year in which the Society operated both as a regulator and as a professional body. We took on the regulation of pharmacy in 1933 and we have discharged that responsibility to an extremely high standard. 2009 saw the completion of the reorganisation of our regulatory functions, and the review of those functions by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence recognised the quality of our performance during a period of organisational change.

The upcoming transfer of our regulatory responsibilities to the new General Pharmaceutical Council and the return of the Society to exclusively a professional leadership role require changes to our Royal Charter. Those changes were put to our membership in a Special Resolution in July and there was an overwhelming vote in their favour (77.7%).

Alongside those changes, we held a Special General Meeting on the issue of the legal restriction of the title “pharmacist” which will in future be reserved for those registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. I would like to pay tribute to the staff of the Society who organised the Charter vote and the Special General Meeting with unwavering courtesy and calm professionalism.

The transfer of regulation also requires secondary legislation for which a draft Order was issued. The Society responded to this Order as both the current regulator (under the auspices of our Council) and as a professional body (under the auspices of our three National Boards). Distinguishing in this way between the two roles and “voices” of the current Society has prepared the ground well for the separation.

We also prepared to relinquish our regulatory role by increasing our focus on the needs of our members, with a clear sense of our, and their, responsibility to patients. We managed the process of developing member services by establishing a Transitional Working Group (including representatives from both our Council and Boards) and holding a large number of stakeholder meetings. In this way, the prospectus for the new professional body published at the end of 2008 has turned into a clear operational plan which is already delivering wide-ranging support for members.

In October, the Responsible Pharmacist Regulations were introduced. We produced professional standards and guidance and a practical toolkit for our members, and engaged with other pharmacy bodies to prepare for and monitor the introduction of the Regulations. For the hospital sector, we worked with other rganisations on guidance regarding the activities that require registration with the Society and/or a licence from the MHRA.

We made increasing use of web technology to provide information on these and other issues, and we launched a specifi c website for the professional leadership body which has helped us to engage with more and more of our members.

Our Publishing operation continues to be world class. The year included the introduction of the 36th edition of Martindale, the Clinical Pharmacist journal and a new monthly magazine for the professional body – Pharmacy Professional. The British National Formulary (described as one of the “jewels in the NHS crown”), also achieved ISO 9001 accreditation.

The key assets of the Society as it moves towards its new role are its members, its staff and its intellectual property. All of these assets are immensely valuable and we have made great strides in using them to create a new, truly exciting future for the organisation. Thank you to everyone involved in that process; the Society has won even more respect and greater support, and healthcare in Great Britain is the better for it. We can look forward with confidence."

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