Pharmaceutical Society set to review PA account

The professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales is planning to put its public affairs account out to pitch by the end of the year.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is reviewing its ­account with Connect Public Affairs. The agency has held the account for eight years, having repitched successfully in 2004. Interim director of public affairs and communications Deborah Oliver said that Connect would be invited to repitch.

The RPSGB has opted to review the account after hiring a new head of public ­affairs. Charles Willis took on the newly created role this week, having recently quit his post as head of external affairs at foster care agency TACT after just six months (PRWeek, 10 August).

Before joining TACT, Willis had a brief spell as a director at Burson-Marsteller’s public affairs practice. Prior to that, he spent three years working for BT, specialising in IT-related lobbying, and several years in the Labour Whips’ Office at the House of Commons.

Willis reports to Oliver, who took over the interim position in June following Beverly Parkin’s departure in March.

Oliver previously worked as acting director of communications at the Museums, Libraries and Archives.

Willis said: ‘The Royal Pharmaceutical Society pre­sents a great opportunity to get involved in meaty issues that need to be resolved.’

Willis’s primary remit will be to manage fall-out from the new health and social care bill, announced in this week’s Queen’s Speech. The bill outlines plans to create a new health and social care regulator called the Care Quality Commission. This could have a profound effect on RPSGB and Willis said he would be analysing and res­ponding to that effect.

The regulator will be equipped with powers ‘to inspect, investigate and intervene where hospitals are failing to meet hygiene standards’.

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