As of 2nd April 2019 the ballot papers have been posted out to the electoral register to elect four new pharmacist members to the PSI council for a four year term.
The PSI council is made up of 21 members, of which 10 are pharmacist members and 11 are non-pharmacist members. As a profession we are already outnumbered by design, but what is even more critical is that as employees we have virtually no say on the council. You can see the list of all PSI council members here.
Perhaps that is why the employee pharmacist situation in community pharmacy has been steadily eroded to the point where many feel left with little choice but to look elsewhere for a more rewarding career path. But it doesn't have to be this way any more!
In previous years we have never had a candidate who would promote employee representation as a first, last and only point on their electoral manifesto, but you will be glad to learn that this year we have not one but two such candidates. Without further ado, below are this year's candidates:
Ms Siobhan Cuddy (4759)
Dr Sabine Eggers (5677)
Mr Roy Hogan (5874)
Mr Mark Jordan (12026)
Mr David Kavanagh (10165)
Ms Johanna Kissane (6960)
Mr John Madden (9602)
Ms Muireann Ní Shuilleabháin (5279)
Mr Shane O’Driscoll (7814)
Mr Leon O’Hagan (7943)
Mr Eugene Renehan (8638)
You can find a list of their biographies on this PSI page.
Two candidates clearly stand out and they are John Madden and Leon O’Hagan. Below are their biographies published on the PSI website:
Biography of John Madden (9602)
I have been a registered pharmacist since 2009, having graduated from UCC the year prior. Since then I have worked mostly as a locum pharmacist in the south-east of the country. My motivation for seeking nomination to the council is to ensure employee pharmacists have adequate representation and the interests of employees are balanced with those of pharmacy owners. I am contactable regarding any queries at [email removed to protect from spam].
John also posted this address to the electorate on a pharmacy blog website:
I am contesting the council elections to seek that the majority of registered pharmacists (i.e. employees) are more adequately represented.
I believe chronic under-investment in staffing and resources to be the single biggest hindrance to implementing good practices and coping with the burden of regulatory compliance.It’s my view that the role of superintendent is widely misunderstood and not taken seriously, and as such their responsibilities are effectively passed on to ordinary pharmacists, be they working in supervising, support, relief or locum roles.I think it’s vital that membership of the of the council (and its committees) is not overly corporate in nature or overly sympathetic to corporate interests, and instead more representative of the majority (>80%) of pharmacists that do not have a stake in pharmacy ownership.
I have close to a decade’s experience, in which I have locumed far and wide, seeing first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of community pharmacy, and developing an understanding of the challenges faced.I am committed to maintaining and raising standards in the profession and if elected to council I will seek that superintendents are more proactive in their managerial and directorial role, and made more accountable.
Pharmacy owners may not be my constituency, but the vast majority of pharmacists are.I hope a sufficient numbers of employees will see this and my message will resonate with them.
Roughly 5 out of every 6 pharmacists have no role in pharmacy ownership.If you are one of them, I am representing your interests.
Anyone with queries regarding my candidacy should get in touch at [email removed to protect from spam].
Biography Leon O’Hagan (7943)
As a pharmacist of over 15 years’ experience having worked in both the North and South of Ireland, England and Australia, as a community locum, manager and practice pharmacist – I have seen the best of pharmacy and the challenges pharmacists face on a daily basis restricting them from providing exceptional care.
I want pharmacists to be able to work to the pinnacle of their practice – to use their expertise to improve the health and wellbeing of their patients, to be a valued part of the health service and be treated as such. To do so, they need to have the support, training and resources to enable then to get away from the dispensary bench – and have a strong voice on council advocating for them.
I have a long history of working to support pharmacists and engaging to improve the profession. As the regional rep for the Pharmacist Defence Association Union, I have assisted and supported colleague pharmacists through grievance and disciplinary procedures, and have worked to improve working conditions, the safety and security of pharmacists.
I believe regulation is for the protection and safety of patients, but it should also be proportionate, measured, and take a common sense approach to its application. To that end, I was co-opted to the PSI’s Pharmacy Practice Development Committee in 2016 and was a community voice over the last few years on work such as the PSI’s revised Code of Conduct.
I will work on council to advance, develop and protect the profession, so that colleagues no longer feel isolated, disengaged or disenfranchised, but are instead connected, excited and inspired by the future.
I will be open and transparent in my views and welcome engagement from fellow pharmacists on Poitigeir.com, Pharmabuddy.ie or at my personal email address; [email removed to protect from spam].
Willing to listen
First thing that stands out is that they are the only two candidates to publish their personal email addresses, so that they can be contacted in order to represent their peers while everyone else is busy listing off their degrees, diplomas and positions they held/stil hold in various corporations and organizations.
If you feel frustrated at the direction that our profession has been steered in over the last number of years, now is your change to bring your voice to where it actually matters, the chambers of our governing body. Make sure you exercise your right and vote for above two candidates as your 1st and 2nd choice to make sure that they are two of the four pharmacist representatives elected to PSI council this year.
Completed ballot papers must be returned to the Returning Officer by 5pm on Wednesday, 17 April 2019. The counting of votes is scheduled for Thursday, 18 April. The election results, including details of the poll and count, will be published on the PSI website.