It's not worth standing in RPS elections, says pharmacist

An influential community pharmacist has taken to social media to say he will not stand for election to the English Pharmacy Board (EPB) this year because he believes individuals cannot “make a difference when the system is designed to resist reform.”

Mohammed Hussain (pictured), who has held a variety of key health positions and is about to step down as a council member at the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), revealed on Twitter that he has been asked to stand in the EPB elections, the nominations for which are now open, but decided not to, insisting “the structure and culture needs to change.”

“Tbh as a loyal supporter of @rpharms for ever, I’ve never not been a member, I’m really disappointed with a series of decisions, actions, recently,” he tweeted.

Hussain, the programme head for integrated pharmacy at NHS Digital, questioned why the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) had failed to respond to the GPhC’s consultation on pharmacists’ fees, which were recently increased.

He also pointed out that the professional leadership body had failed to address the issue of fixed term limits and implementation of internal governance review recommendations.

According to the RPS’ regulations, the term of office for elected Assembly members serving on the Assembly is two years as long as they remain elected to their relevant National Board. The period of office for members elected to the National Pharmacy Boards is three years.

"I’ll be honest, number of people have asked me to stand, but I am not going to do so because I can’t see that the system is governable or efficient," he tweeted.

“Why invest your precious time in to something where you’ll not make a difference #rpselections2019.

"I felt I could make a difference at @TheGPhC and can say that I did. I’m very unsure if the same is possible from #EPB.”

Insisting he did not “think the assembly and national board governance arrangements work,” Hussain added: “I can’t see how any individual board member can really make a difference when the system is designed to resist reform.

“Sorry to be on a downer but the structure and culture needs to change. Excellent people in an inadequate system. Blame the system.”

Five places are available on the EPB while there are three each on the Scottish and Welsh Boards. The deadline for submitted nominations is April 4.

When asked why the RPS had failed to respond to the GPhC fees consultation, Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy and member experience at the RPS, told ICP: “We respond to consultations when they help us deliver our mission; putting pharmacists at the forefront of healthcare. Our members can find our consultation responses on a variety of topics on our website.”

When asked for a response to Hussain’s views on fixed term limits and implementation of internal governance review recommendations, the RPS did not respond.

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