The President’s Blog. October 2016

My blog begins in August, which is generally a quiet month for GHP activity as we settle in with new pre-registration pharmacists, new pharmacists and new junior doctors.  We do however continue to have queries and many of these are from pharmacists about to start working in GP practices about obtaining professional indemnity. Membership of the union entitles members to advice and support in workplace matters including grievances, disciplinary procedures and employment tribunals. Membership of the union also entitles members who are statutorily registered health professionals to support and advice if investigated by a regulatory body and also the support of the union’s lawyers should a case go to a hearing. Contingent Medical Malpractice (CMM) is there in case a member should, for example, be sued by a patient or client for malpractice. CMM depends on the employer having primary cover which all NHS organisations will have. Anyone working directly for a GP Practice would not be covered as GPs do not have primary cover but usually have individual liability arrangements.  We are therefore advising pharmacists directly employed by GPs that CMM would not be appropriate.  However, if they are employed by an NHS organisation to provide the services to the GP surgery then they would be covered. The underwriters of the CMM do not make any differentiation with respect to job roles as long as the tasks that are taken out are in the individual’s job description.  For example, there is not added premium for independent prescribers. The CMM will not provide legal cover for criminal acts but we have confirmed that they would support a pharmacist who was being prosecuted for a dispensing error.

For many years we have used the website but this has now become old and would need a lot of investment to upgrade it.  We have therefore moved temporarily to another website until we can move our content into the Unite website.  Bear with us during the transition and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with our activities.

I was able to attend the Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference in Birmingham at the beginning of September and enjoyed the programme and meeting up with old friends immensely.  I was particularly proud that former GHP President Tony West received the RPS Lifetime Achievement award.  Much of the discussion at the conference was about the new contract for community pharmacy and its effect on the future of many independent pharmacies.  GHP gave evidence to the Department of Health in February on this and will continue monitor the situation.  Rahul Singal launched the Department of Health report on seven day services for hospital pharmacy GHP has always supported the development of seven day services provided that there are appropriate resources to allow it to happen without detriment to the weekday service or the staff.  When attending conferences I am always pleased to see the practice research posters.  We need, more than ever, published research to support and justify our practice.

Straight after the RPS conference I managed to fit in a very enjoyable trip to the Netherlands with my choir but it was straight back to Guild matters on return. Graeme Richardson, Vice President; Kevin McAdam and Gavin Fergie from Unite and I met with members of the Procurement and Distribution Interest Group to discuss how we could support their very successful day conferences in the future

GHP NOPC was held on September 27th and we welcomed a new regional member, Alison Smith, who will be representing the West Midlands.  Alison is an active GHP/Unite in Worcester and sits on the Regional Industrial Sector Committee.  I am sure that Alison will be a great asset to the Guild and will be in contact with West Midlands members shortly.  We were joined by Peter Noyce and Diane Leicester from Pharmacist Support who gave a presentation on the work of the organisation.  There are many overlaps between the work of our organisations and we have agreed that we need to make sure that anyone seeking advice is signposted to the correct organisation.  If you are able to support the work of Pharmacist Support by making a donation then please do so.

I also met up again with Diane and Peter on October 18th at the GPhC’s professionalism Under Pressure seminar.  It was interesting to talk to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from all sectors and at different points in their career path about the increased pressures that are being felt.  Staff surveys have shown that decreased stress leads to increased engagement and quality improvement plus the inevitable decrease in sickness.  Sadly, Pharmacy Support is receiving increased numbers of calls from pre-registration pharmacists. At the end of my last blog I finished with the good news of a high pass rate for the pre-registration examinations so it is disappointing that there was only a 41% pass rate following the September examination.  I am sure that the GPhC and training providers will be reflecting on what has gone wrong here.

As ever, we have been busy responding to consultations on your behalf. In the past three months we have submitted responses to the EMA on Good Pharmacovigilance Practices; NHS England on Managing Conflicts of Interest in the NHS; to the MHRA on Risk appropriate approached to clinical trials; the Scottish Government on Out of hospital urgent care to name a few.  We often put out a Twitter request for comments and views so do follow us and respond if you have views that you would like to share.  One area where we feel we are unable to respond to consultations at present is anything related to Wales.  We have not had a Welsh regional member for some time and we may therefore be missing out on the opportunity to support our Welsh members.  If you work in Wales and think you may be able to take on this role please contact me for further information or discussion.

Along with Graeme, Roisin O’Hare, Education and Development Lead and Wasim Baqir, Communications Lead we met with Catherine Duggan and Beth Ward  at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to discuss mutual areas of interest and concern.  Catherine and Beth were able to present their Roadmap for Advance Practitioners.  The enthusiasm for our profession and professional development on both sides was excellent and we hope we will be able to work together to take the profession ever forward.

Hopefully I will be able to meet many members at our stand at the UKCPA Conference on Friday.

Vilma Gilis

October 2016

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