This is my last blog as President of GHP as my two years come to the end this week. The two years have gone unbelievably fast and apart for the initial anxiety when approached by the press for comment, I have enjoyed it immensely. There have been many highlights but I think the one that will remain with me the most was the interest and admiration shown by the board of the American Association of Hospital Pharmacists on our role as independent prescribers. I have also learnt things that I would never have done outside the role, I know an awful lot about biosimilars that I did two years ago.
However, back to May and the less glamorous surroundings of the ExCel and the Clinical Pharmacy Congress. The CPC has become one of the highlights of my year as it’s a great opportunity to meet pharmacists from all over the country in all sorts of roles (I am also alarmed at the ever increasing number of pharmacists who come up to me to say Hi and did I remember them as a pre-registration pharmacist or student on rotation, have I really trained that many?). The stand was incredibly busy, particularly on the Friday with most enquiries being about liability cover. There were a large number of Pharmacy Technicians enquiring about membership of Unite and we hope that with the guidance of our regional officer, Kevin McAdam, we will be able to increase their support within Unite.
On the day before the CPC we held our council meeting and once again there was a focus on Pharmacy Technicians as Tess Fenn, President of APTUK, came to join us to discuss many of the issues relating to technicians and their development. This had been instigated by GHP due to concerns that Pre-Registration Pharmacy Technicians are now being recruited via the apprentice schemes in many trusts and how this could be a barrier to good candidates coming forward. We have no solutions but keep an eye out for what is happening in your trusts.
I was once again one of the delegates to the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists General Assembly. This year it was held in Malta. It was very hot but your delegates kept in the cool of the conference room. One of the main areas of discussion was the implementation of the EAHP Statements on Hospital Pharmacy. These statements are very important to the Eastern Bloc countries who are forging ahead to bring their pharmacy services on a par with the Western countries. However, dealing with shortages and how to implement the Falsified Medicines Directive is an issue for the whole of Europe. At the end of the Assembly on behalf of GHP I offered to host the 2019 GA in the U.K. This will be in Edinburgh and was a hugely popular choice with the delegates.
On my return from Malta I heard of the sad and untimely death of Professor Peter Noyce. Peter was the District Pharmacist at Northwick Park when I was a basic grade pharmacist and he was an exciting and innovating boss. In recent years our paths had started crossing again as he had taken on the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Pharmacy Voice. I invited him to talk at last September’s Guild Council meeting and he clearly put the same passion into his role as he had into every other role he had taken on during his career. He will be sadly missed by the profession.
One of my last duties as President has been to ring up and offer the Guild medal awards to the nominated recipients. I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Guild Gold Medal is David Miller, Chief Pharmacist at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and a former Guild President. I am equally delighted to announce the winner of the Guild Silver Medal is Richard Hey, Director of Pharmacy at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust. Dave and Richard will receive their medals at the UCKPA Conference dinner in November.
So, my time here is nearly done. I don’t drop off the stage completely as the Immediate Past President looks after the International portfolio of GHP and I will clearly be busy over the next two years helping to organise the EAHP General Assembly. I will leave you in the capable hand of Graeme Richardson who has been an enormous support to meover the past two years. As I work in a mental health trust it has been invaluable having Graeme, who is Chief Pharmacist at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, by my side and we have become quite a team.
I have already made a list of all the jobs my husband has to do and now I will have the time to supervise. I should at this point say what a wonderful support my husband, Geof Lay, has been, not just over the past two years, but since I joined Guild Council in 2001 when our children, Elizabeth and William, were still quite young.