Pharmacists have expressed their dismay at the impending demise of the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP), with one leading pharmacist questioning why the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) allegedly failed to follow up on a plan to keep the organisation going.
The NAWP’s announcement this week that it would fold at the end of the year after 114 years because of "numerous societal changes” prompted much regret on social media.
Some took to Twitter to say they were sad to see the end of the NAWP which had done much to raise the profile of female pharmacists.
“As a profession, it would be very disappointing if we could not save this crucial group. There is a gender imbalance at the top and allowing a female advocacy group to flounder is shocking,” tweeted pharmacist Stephen Messham.
Yet it was Mohammed Hussain, the programme head for integrated pharmacy at NHS Digital and an RPS Fellow, who raised eyebrows by suggesting a plan to save the NAWP had been formulated at the RPS only for it to fall by the wayside after the departure last April of Catherine Duggan, its director of professional development and support.
“I’m shocked about this news especially as I thought there was a plan to save @NAWP_UK under the RPS umbrella. But things appear to have hit a wall after Catherine Duggan left. Can someone else at @rpharms please champion the need for a women’s advocacy group in pharmacy,” Hussain tweeted.
He also tweeted: “Why wasn’t it possible to partner with @rpharms to keep the legacy of @NAWP_UK alive. Lots of talk of valuing diversity, but where is the action to support the likes of @NAWP_UK.”
Addressing English Pharmacy Board (EPB) member Hemant Patel, Hussain tweeted: “As a current board member can you find out what’s happened to the proposals to bring @NAWP_UK under the RPS umbrella and keep the legacy, name and the agenda alive? Seems to have been a change of direction after Catherine left.”
ICP asked the RPS if it had any plans in place to save the NAWP and if so, why those plans were not taken forward after Duggan’s departure. The RPS did not respond.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation, who list Duggan as its chief executive officer, told ICP that she could not “comment on the specifics of what happened at (the) RPS.”
Pictured: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society's headquarters.