Pharmacist appeals against RPS bullying investigation

Hala Jawad, the pharmacist who alleged she had been bullied on social media during last year’s English Pharmacy Board (EPB) elections, has contacted the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to appeal against the way it handled her complaint.

In her appeal, submitted last month, Jawad (pictured) raised several points including what she perceived to be a lack of transparency around the outcome of the RPS’s investigation and the length of time it took to handle her case.

She had alleged that she was bullied on Twitter by Steve Churton, the former president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, as she ran for election to the EPB last year.

Jawad initially contacted RPS chief executive Paul Bennett on September 4 last year with her allegations but was frustrated the professional leadership body passed her complaint to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) despite Churton not being on the regulator’s register.

The RPS decided to proceed with its own investigations once Jawad’s case had been passed back to it by the GPhC. She described the RPS’s decision to pass her case to the GPhC as “a waste of time.” 

In her appeal, she claimed she submitted her complaint on September 4 and “finally received a response at the end of January.”

Jawad also complained about the RPS’s refusal to tell her what decision it reached following its investigations.

On January 30 Paul Jenks, vice-chair of the RPS membership committee, wrote to Jawad to tell her the decision of a conduct panel of the membership committee had been disclosed to Churton but would not be passed to her.

“The letter gives no outcome whatsoever to my complaint. It merely states that it has been considered and a decision, whatever that may be, given to Mr Churton. The letter provides no reasons, rationale or explanation for the committee’s secret decision, nor is there any explanation about how my complaint was considered or what evidence was heard,” Jawad said in her appeal lodged on February 14.

“I was not afforded any opportunity to comment on what Mr Churton provided in response, before a decision was reached.

“The contents of the decision letter, or rather lack of, appears to be designed to frustrate any appeal because it provides absolutely no information upon which to decide whether the complaint has been considered properly.”

She added: “The outcome gives absolutely no confidence that the committee has adhered to the principles of natural justice and has properly considered my complaint. There is no transparency in the decision making at all.”

Jawad told ICP the RPS responded to her appeal on February 21 to reiterate that decisions reached by its conduct panel would remain confidential but that her concerns had been circulated within the RPS.

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