A year of huge change and incredible efforts
Events and Webinars
2020 was a particularly strange year for RPS Events, as everything changed practically overnight, when lockdown stopped face-to-face meetings.
Despite this, the team made a remarkable comeback and, over the course of the next 12 months delivered 250 events, mostly digital, for an incredible 18,000 attendees.
28 live training webinars took place, attracting over 12,000 pharmacists, on vital topics such as critical care, infection management, mental health conditions, thrombosis and anticoagulation, COVID-19 clinical trials, COVID-19 in children, remote consultations and contingency planning.
Events were at the heart of our new digital strategy, providing a diverse programme of training, education and supportive meetings, and devising new ways of bringing us together, even as lockdown kept us apart.
Our Workforce Wellbeing survey launched in 2020, and we published our survey report on the pressures being faced by pharmacists during the pandemic.
Our Workforce Wellbeing section got a major - ongoing - update to support people through the pandemic, and we held events with Pharmacist Support and the Mental Wealth Academy - mainly as Facebook live sessions
We also managed to get access to national wellbeing support for pharmacists and their teams.
Science & Research
Our Science & Research team were absolutely vital during COVID-19.
In response to the pandemic an RPS COVID-19 programme was set up, with the Science and Research Team redeployed there. They worked tirelessly to collate over 7,000 pieces of intelligence - coding, analysing and reporting daily, to ensure everything we did was directly relevant to our members and the profession.
Aside from the pandemic, a new Industrial Pharmacy Advisory Group was set up, and our e-cigarettes policy launched in February 2020.
Our biggest success in social media in 2020 was our COVID Heroes video. Created to raise the profile and spirits of pharmacy in 2020 it was immediately popular with pharmacists.
However, when it was shared by The Royal Family's Twitter account (which has 4.2 million followers) the video was viewed more than 40,000 times in 24 hours as a result!
By the end of 2020, our mentoring platform had 1,562 registered users, composed of 1,099 mentees (657 and 463 mentors, and we'd had almost a thousand requests for mentoring during the year.
2020 saw the launch of our new e-Portfolio with two new programmes - provisional registration, and consultant pharmacist credentialing., attracting 1,500 users.
Students and provisional registration
COVID-19 meant GPhC registration assessment was postponed, which meant confusion and anxiety for many. That's why we developed online guidance for Pre-Reg trainees and tutors, and provisionally registered pharmacists, including three live webinars, four WhatsApp groups (with over 1,000 members each!) and a dedicated support service.
To help prepare for their national Pre-Registration placement recruitment (also known as ORIEL) we hosted events for over 600 students.
Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)
In October, we launched our NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (or CPCS) CPD Courses in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
By the end of December we'd delivered 63 two-part courses, attended by over 1,400 pharmacists. Not only that, 99% of attendees said they would recommend our CPCS courses to their colleagues!
In the Media
The tireless efforts of the RPS media team meant our total coverage across all channels was up 25% in 2020.
RPS appeared in the media 4,246 times - in 3,440 online articles, 255 print and 551 broadcast appearances, and our total reach increased by 29% compared to 2019.
Inclusion & Diversity
Our major Inclusion & Diversity campaign began in 2020.
We committed to making inclusion and diversity central to the profession, celebrating and encouraging diverse voices across pharmacy.
Central to this was our Inclusion and Diversity Report, a plan for, and by, pharmacy, with three priorities:
- Create a culture of belonging
- Champion inclusive and authentic leadership
- Challenge barriers to inclusion & diversity.
Momentum grew throughout the year, and we saw more and more volunteers supporting our campaign, and a diverse range of people engaging with the RPS.
Assessment & Credentialing
We have developed an individual credentialing process for advanced level pharmacists working in patient-focussed roles wishing to demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to work at consultant-level.
Individuals must be credentialed as consultant-ready to be eligible to fill consultant pharmacist posts, and RPS is now administering the national credentialing assessment for all individuals and maintaining a record of credentialed individuals.
The Pharmaceutical Journal
The PJ was at the heart of support for pharmacy against COVID-19 in 2020, with over seven million users viewing almost eleven million pages on the website.
We made all our content related to COVID-19 free to view to help everyone in healthcare, not just our members, as well as giving access to our Pharmacy Knowledge platform to all UK schools of pharmacy.
Our new podcast, The PJ Pod, launched and quickly racked up over 8,000 listens.
We launched a new initiative to celebrate women in pharmacy - Women to Watch 2020 - and we were nominated in the specialist journalism category at the British Journalism Awards.
Our two popular podcast series were an important source of information throughout lockdown - RPS President Sandra Gidley chatted with guests from across the profession in her regular PrezCast.
And in our pharmaceutical science podcast PharmSci Today, RPS Chief Scientist Gino Martini was joined by innovators and senior figures from the pharmaceutical industry, providing the very latest updates on vaccine development and delivery systems, and the latest technologies in the fight against COVID-19.
Library, e-Library and Museum
With all of our buildings closed during lockdown, the RPS e-Library became a vital resource to many members.
Whether you were a practicing pharmacist checking your facts, or a student member preparing for exams, our e-Library was always open. No wonder that use of the e-Library increased by almost 65% in 2020!
And with visitors unable to visit the RPS Museum, we had to find new ways to adapt and connect.
So, the Museum created regular social media posts on some of the Museum's treasures, a Remarkable Remedies vlog series, virtual tours of exhibits, and online themed exhibitions to remind everyone of pharmacy's long - and sometimes strange! - history.
Pharmaceutical Press, the RPS' Knowledge Business
At the start of the pandemic, Pharmaceutical Press prioritised essential medicines information to support complex decision-making and dynamic prescribing in critical care. In just four weeks an advance version of Critical Illness was launched, including six drug monographs specifically useful for COVID-19 patients. Free access was provided to the NHS and MedicinesComplete customers.
Additionally, NHS accounts were given unlimited concurrent use of all resources covered by their subscriptions.
Six new print editions were published including:
Over 1.6 million users of MedicinesComplete, across 178 countries and regions made over 7.8 million searches, resulting in over 30 million page views.
The essential BNF and BNF for Children app, providing access to the latest drug information quickly, offline and on-the-go was updated to include colour coded content aiding navigation between adult and child content.
RPS in Wales
We published our manifesto for pharmacy ahead of the Senedd election, and spoke regularly to the Welsh Government, members of the Senedd and NHS Wales about recognition of pharmacy teams, safety issues and medicines shortages.
We appeared 50 times in the Welsh media, including BBC Wales, S4C and the Western Mail, highlighting the innovative practice and dedication by pharmacy teams across the country.
We worked with over 60 NHS Wales bodies and other organisations to ensure pharmacy’s expertise is recognised across every area of health and social care, and we're on the delivery board of Pharmacy: Delivering A healthier Wales.
RPS in Scotland
Following consultation with our members, the profession and other pharmacy organisations, we published our manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections. We're calling for political parties to commit to delivering the best results for the pharmacy profession and for the people of Scotland.
We also published a new policy on improving pharmaceutical care for people living with mental health conditions, recommending that the expertise, clinical knowledge and accessibility of pharmacists should be better used to support people with mental health conditions.
We ran a hugely successful social media campaign in December 2020 - #24daysofpharmacy showcasing many different pharmacy roles and demonstrating how valued pharmacy teams are. The campaign was viewed almost a quarter of a million times during December!