Influencing governments and stakeholders

Public affairs is a way of influencing public debate and political decisions. We engage in public affairs activity to ensure that Government policy reflects the priorities, concerns and aspirations of pharmacists.

We make the case for pharmacy across a range of issues important to pharmacists, communicating policies based on members’ views to ensure that the voice of pharmacy is heard at the highest levels.

The Society engages with all relevant stakeholders to build consensus around public policies. We work with royal colleges, membership bodies, patient groups, regulator and other organisations to promote the role of pharmacists.

One example is our advocacy for the introduction of a new defence around inadvertent dispensing errors which, after a long campaign and working with others across the profession, saw Parliament approve legislation for registered pharmacies in 2017.

This UK-wide measure aims to increase patient safety by reducing the fear of criminal prosecution and encouraging a more open culture of error reporting and learning from mistakes. The RPS now aims to build on this important milestone, engage with wider stakeholders and see similar proposals for hospitals and other pharmacy settings.

England activity

Our public affairs activity seeks to inform political decision-making and shape policy in England. We work with ministers, officials, MPs, Peers and local government representatives as well as other organisations such as NHS England, Royal Colleges and patient groups.

Our campaigns help communicate the needs and concerns of pharmacists, ensuring the voice of pharmacy is heard loudly and clearly at the highest level and helping the profession fulfil its true potential.

We also support the work of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, a group of MPs and Peers who examine issues around the profession's current and potential contribution to healthcare.

Scotland activity

With the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and health policy being fully devolved, having a distinct Scottish voice for pharmacists and pharmacy in Scotland is vital. 

As part of representing pharmacists and pharmacy in Scotland, we create distinctive Scottish policy positions and ensure our message is heard where it matters - by the Scottish Government and in the Scottish Parliament.

Find out more about policy at RPS Scotland, from Practice and Policy Lead, Aileen Bryson.


Wales activity

Making sure the voice of pharmacy is heard in Wales is a key priority for the Welsh Pharmacy Board. Working with the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales is a critical part of our work and is necessary for effective leadership, representation and advocacy.

The Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales have a range of functions and powers that are separate from the UK Parliament and the Central Government machinery in Whitehall and Westminster. Since its creation in 1998 the National Assembly for Wales has grown as a legislature and now has more devolved responsibility and powers than ever to shape public life in Wales.

The Assembly's devolved responsibility for health care is an important area of attention for the RPS in Wales, demanding considerable activity and engagement with Welsh Ministers and politicians on behalf of our members. As the professional leadership body for pharmacy, we have a key responsibility to our members to represent their interests and promote their role at the highest strategic levels in Wales, ensuring the professional voice is heard during relevant policy and legislative developments. We act as advocates for our members and also support our members who wish to personally lobby Welsh politicians individually.

European Union activity

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society engages with the institutions of the European Union to represent the views of pharmacists and inform policy-making.

We are members of the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), and in association with our UK partners, the National Pharmacy Association and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, present a UK-wide perspective at EU level. The RPS comments and lobbies on EU legislation and initiatives via the PGEU, joining in the creation of a Europe-wide view with its European partner organisations who are also PGEU members. The RPS is a permanent delegate at the PGEU, providing the views of GB pharmacists and seeking to inform discussions with the European Commission and Parliament.

RPS membership of the PGEU also facilitates the exchange of best practice amongst membership bodies across Europe and allows the exchange of information to assist policy-making in Great Britain.

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