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PDA seeks answers on pharmacy professional leadership commission

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PDA seeks answers on pharmacy professional leadership commission

By Neil Trainis

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has written to England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb to ask why he and the three other CPhOs set up a commission to examine pharmacy professional leadership when they have no mandate to determine the course it takes and clarify who exactly is being scrutinised as part of it.

The PDA is concerned the commission, which was launched in June by NHS England to look at how leadership in the profession can be strengthened, has lacked transparency by failing to provide more details about its first meeting and who is funding the initiative. The PDA said it was “important to understand” who asked the chief pharmaceutical officers to set up the commission and why.

It also said the scope of the commission’s investigation is ambiguous, insisting its survey questions on ‘professional leadership bodies’ and ‘pharmacy professionals’ is too vague as it tries to garner the views of patients, pharmacy professionals and other healthcare sectors. The survey closes on September 16.

The PDA, which was not invited to be part of the commission but who have already called on it to ensure its investigation does not solely focus on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society but professional leadership across pharmacy, urged the commission to be more specific about whether the reference to ‘professional leadership bodies’ concerns only the RPS and PSNI in Northern Ireland, or whether other bodies will be included. 

“The PDA strongly believe that without absolute clarity and transparency throughout the process, the work of the commission may suffer the same lack of confidence from the profession as was experienced by the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation programme board,” it said.

It also challenged Mr Webb to clarify why the commission has been labelled ‘independent’ given he as well as Alison Strath, Andrew Evans and Cathy Harrison, the chief pharmaceutical officers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively, selected its members, some of whom were appointed from outside of pharmacy.

“It has been stated by the CPhOs that the individuals sitting on the commission have been chosen based on the organisational expertise they possess in leadership bodies. What evidence is there to support this statement?” the PDA said.

“Furthermore, the list of commission members cites not their expertise, but the organisation they come from. Therefore, the impression is strongly given that the individuals have been chosen not because of their expertise as stated, but because they represent certain organisations.

“To achieve buy-in, and greater openness and transparency, an explanation as to why these specific members of the commission have been selected would be very helpful.”

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