By RPS President Ash Soni
The move to our new offices at 66-68 East Smithfield marks an exciting new era for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. The building is purposely designed to be a 21st Century building for a 21st Century royal society. It will showcase both our proud history and our contemporary leading role within the pharmacy profession.
Based on sound financial reasoning, relocating to our new permanent home on the edge of the City in east London is a visionary move for the RPS. The building is an excellent location for the society to maintain its important influence over the profession at the heart of national decision making. As well as meeting the business needs of staff across our professional and publishing teams, this move will ensure we continue to flourish as an organisation. Our new London base linked with modern communication technology to our offices in Scotland and Wales will ensure the RPS is the voice of the pharmacy profession across Britain, securing our future role as a key contributor to the evolving national patient care agenda within the NHS.
East Smithfield is an attractive and functional space, providing both an effective professional environment and an accessible location for members to visit. There are well equipped meeting facilities, with wifi available throughout the building. On the ground floor there is a bespoke auditorium style conference room, complemented by a modern seated hub area with tea and coffee facilities for members to visit for informal meetings. A second large bright event space on the 4th floor has a balcony boasting views over the London skyline and Canary Wharf. The latest audio visual technology is available in all meeting rooms which will be used to communicate with our regional offices. Many facilities will be available for hire by members at cost rate.
Situated close to London Transport Underground, main line rail, and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) stations, the area will also benefit from Crossrail when the new train link opens in 2018. And for those that prefer an alternative form of transport, the Thames River Bus offers a fast and frequent commuter service to a nearby pier.
Members are encouraged to visit and make full use of the new RPS library, housed next to the meeting hub in a light and spacious atrium that spans the full height of the building.
The new RPS museum is also integrated within the building and is a fantastic feature of the new offices. Exhibits showcasing the heritage of the society and its international significance dating back to the 1500s are displayed in specially designed climate controlled cabinets. The museum will be open to the public and will tell the story of the history of medicines and pharmacy, with fascinating exhibits recording the worldwide importance of the organisation as a driving force behind modern day standards in patient safety and care.
A simple but effective design has been created for the outside of the building to act as a beacon for visitors. The frontage will feature the RPS crest in glass with a back drop of hundreds of pictures of RPS members engaged in various working practice, whether as experts in medicines, helping and supporting patients, or working across healthcare, industry and education.
As well as the RPS crest there is an image of The Vitruvian Man and a bespoke design in glass. The design features key words associated with the work and principles of pharmacists, ‘health, science, pharmacists, medicines, people and care’ and will serve as a reminder to passers-by of what the society stands for and what pharmacists do for the communities in which they work. The design also contains the translation of ‘pharmacist’ into 24 different languages. This is to reflect and celebrate the diversity of the population around our new home and the rich diversity of our members.
Pharmacists are a society in every sense; a group of people with shared interests and mutual goals. The RPS’s new home will support and celebrate the work of the society across many health care settings. It will be the professional ‘home’ to all our members and I look forward to meeting many of them there.