My experience as an RPS English Pharmacy Board member

Sharon Buckle is Vice Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board and a Pharmacy Manager for Boots.

In June 2012 I was delighted to be elected onto the English Pharmacy Board. I was so honoured and so determined that we would be a bold, decisive and happening board, making a difference for our Profession.

If I could sum up in 3 words what is required of a board member, I would cite three characteristics:

  • Passionate
  • Persistent
  • Pragmatic

I made 3 pre-election pledges:
1/ to push for the sharing of patient records with pharmacists
2/ to fight for decriminalisation of single dispensing errors
3/ to raise the profile of pharmacists with Government, politicians and medics

In 2018 we are well on the way to delivering all three! Read more My experience as an RPS English Pharmacy Board member

No you don’t need a PhD to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry!

Professor Luigi G Martini FRPharmS, FEIPG, Chief Pharmaceutical Scientist for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Nor do you need to have done an Industrial pre-registration programme either! These are the two most commonly cited questions, or should I say myths, which are often directed at me.

So I have taken the opportunity in this blog to dispel a few myths as follows:

1) You do not need to have a PhD to work in industry, but it does help if you want to work in Research and Drug Discovery. However, there are many roles in Product Development, Manufacturing and Commercial which exist for pharmacists.

2) You do not need to undertake a pre-registration year in industry, and with only 11 such programmes in the UK, they are highly competitive and thus restricted with respect to demand. In fact, pharmacists who have trained and worked in community and hospital are highly regarded by the industry.

3) There has never been a better time to join the industry with pharmacists being highly desired for career paths in Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Pharmacovigilance and Quality Assurance.

Read more No you don’t need a PhD to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry!

The ‘FIP Bug’

By Kiri Aikman, Clinical Writer for Pharmaceutical Press

I caught the ‘FIP bug’ after attending my first world congress in Dublin in 2013. It was unexpected. I’d been to plenty of conferences before, but this one was different. The sheer scale, with around 3,000 delegates from over 20 counties, blew me away. Every attendee was passionate about enhancing pharmacy practice and used this international gathering to showcase their amazing work and learn about improving patient care.

FIP is the International Pharmaceutical Federation; the global voice of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. Being my first international conference, and as a junior pharmacist from little old New Zealand, I was more than a little nervous walking into this prestigious event. What I quickly learnt though, was that FIP was more of a pharmacy family; sharing ideas and opinions with like-minded people. They even have a “first timers” programme to ease you in and instantly make you feel comfortable.

Read more The ‘FIP Bug’

Antimicrobial stewardship – are you doing your bit?

by Jacquie Sneddon, Project Lead for the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top threats to human healthcare with an estimated 50,000 deaths per year from resistant infection across Europe and the US. This figure will reach 10 million by 2050 unless we act now to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

With few new antibiotics in the pipeline we need to ensure we are using antibiotics appropriately – this means cut out unnecessary use and ensure when they are required that prescriptions comply with evidence-based guidance. This is the basis of antimicrobial stewardship. So what does this mean for pharmacists?

AMS is important in all sectors of pharmacy

Read more Antimicrobial stewardship – are you doing your bit?

Get all the support you need for your time at university

By Laura Bushell, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

We offer our student members an extensive range of resources to facilitate your learning and to help you to achieve your best in your studies. Because we offer so many resources, we understand that it can be difficult to know where to start!

That’s why we’ve created a ‘Student Hub’ dedicated to the resources that will be essential in your studies.

Read more Get all the support you need for your time at university

My week at RPS

Roshnee Patel, MPharms Student at King’s College London

What’s happening behind the scenes? As a pharmacy student it is very difficult to understand and know what is being done for us outside the four walls of our university. My week at RPS demonstrated to me how much support there is available after we graduate but also during our studies. Fortunately, I was able to spend some time within the marketing team and I got to see it all.

From just about knowing how to use Google calendar to now being able to structure, format and schedule social media posts, my time at RPS has enabled me to develop a wide range of my skill sets. In the RPS, opportunities are always knocking on your door. I was given the opportunity to write an email to students in Birmingham. Having had no previous experience in writing emails to such a large number of recipients, I was taught the do’s and don’ts and how to template my email. Within the marketing team, I also got to witness the amount of hard work which goes into planning and preparing for anything to be sent out to the public and making sure that whatever is being sent out is for the correct audience with the most useful information. Before anything is sent to the public it is prepared and checked way in advance. The FIP World Congress next year is being held in Glasgow and is being hosted by the RPS. Even though the event is over a year away, a tremendous amount of work is currently being done to make sure the event is the best. Having also got the chance to sit in on a meeting, I saw how the RPS have and are still developing programmes to help pharmacy students from their first day till their last and beyond that as well. When we’ve just finished our pre-reg year or we’re over 10 years into our career it is comforting to know that the RPS will be there to support and guide us if we need them. It was also great to see how the RPS are always highlighting the importance of pharmacists in the community and are continuously changing themselves to make our journeys easier.

Read more My week at RPS

Opportunities in community pharmacy

By Valerie Sillito, Community Pharmacist

When I qualified , a long long time ago…. pharmacy was all about supply i.e. making powders, compounding creams by the kg, hand filling capsules and many other arcane activities. If a local GP actually asked me for my opinion I was more likely to have a heart attack, never mind come up with a useful suggestion. Of course the BNF only ran to about a 100 pages and the drug shelves were relatively empty (we didn’t have a drug database as this was the handwriting era!).

So, if you were to ask me then what the opportunities in the future might be I suspect it would have been a very limited list.

Now community pharmacy has come on in such leaps and bounds I hardly recognise myself. To name but a few activities: supply of EHC, NRT, treating UTIs and Chlamydia, CPUS (community pharmacy urgent supply) substance misuse services, flu vaccinations, medication reviews, warfarin clinics and those are just the ones under PGDs (patient group directives). Many pharmacies now also offer private services, i.e. the patient has to pay up front, for travel vaccinations, HPV and meningitis B vaccinations, erectile dysfunction and hair loss treatment to name but a few and a very recent innovation has been a sore throat service with treatment if required.

Read more Opportunities in community pharmacy

General Congress

77th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Medicines and beyond! The soul of pharmacy
Seoul, Republic of Korea | 10-14 September 2017

The 2017 FIP congress in Seoul, South Korea, invites an international audience of pharmacy professionals and pharmaceutical scientists to go beyond medicines and answer patients’ demand for high quality help and advice.

At this year’s congress, the professional symposia will explore the many new ways that pharmacy professionals can add the value expected by modern healthcare systems and services. Sessions will show that tradition and dedication to patients’ health – the true soul of pharmacy – can be coupled with innovation in technology, education and practice to deliver care fit for the 21st century. Join us and meet pharmacists from over 100 countries. More information can be found here.

Discover new research and evaluation skills!

Marianna Liaskou, MRPharmS, Research Administrator, Research and Evaluation (R&E), Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)

I passed my pre-reg exam in June 2016 and registered as a pharmacist a couple of months later. During my MPharm I developed an interest in research and in particular during my pre-reg I identified the challenges some pharmacists face in continuing using their research skills. So, I thought I’d explore the Research field and soon booked a Research Advice Surgery. The session was really helpful and I immediately wished I could work with the R&E team! That’s when I came across the Research Admin vacancy and didn’t hesitate to apply. I’m very glad I did because it’s turned out to be a great opportunity!

I’ve been privileged to be able to work with the team developing a new resource: the Research Evidence & Evaluation Toolkit (REET). It’s currently on its Beta version but it already has a lot to offer. I’ve been having a play with it to test its functionality and I have already found a few research skills I need to work on! Basically, it’s an online platform with examples of research skills and activities; these are under various skillsets like ‘Research education and training’, ‘Communication and dissemination of research’ etc.

At the moment, the project has completed the Phase 1 Pilot and the team is processing the feedback from this in order to produce a more useful and operational REET, which will be tested in Phase 2 (coming up soon!). I’m actually really looking forward to the next phase as it will bring more functionality – and purpose – to the toolkit. The main addition is that the research skill, and activity examples, will have resources and conferences signposted to in order to allow the users to take action when they identify areas that they need to develop.

As a Foundation Pharmacist, I’ve found the REET useful because it introduced to me activities and skills that I hadn’t realised were research related. Plus, I was able to use this for my CPD and Foundation Cluster 3 (Research and Evaluation) portfolio entries. Due to the amount of data on REET, it has even more to offer for my (future) faculty journey.

So why don’t you have a go at it too? You might discover new research and evaluation skills! If you think this might be a good resource for you, drop the RPS R&E team an email at, we would love to hear from you!