Opening Comments and Matters of Immediate Interest
Several matters were brought to the attention of delegates -
GHP Strategy Review looking at recent government strategies including the English NHS Plan
Technician registration, the proposed MSF Pharmacy Technicians Group
Investing in and enhancing the GHP web site
Effectiveness of Hospital Pharmacy Research Project
GHP Administration problems - effectively the office is short of two staff. One has been moved to another post and another is on log term sick leave. This leaves one part time post, as the Administrator no longer works full time for the Guild. This has meant that it is not possible to finally agree the Service Level Agreement for the Administrator. If there are any difficulties, members were asked to contact the Organisation Secretary.
Several matters were brought to the attention of delegates -
Ron Pate discussed the proposals to change District Member boundaries to bring them into line with MSF Regional Offices and NHS Regions. There was some concern over the size of the District covering London, Thames Valley and Kent, and a suggestion that it might need two District Members as opposed to one District Member and one National Member. He then went on to give an update on the pay negotiations. The press release is available on www.ghpscot.org.uk in the news section.
Agenda For Change - there are still issues around pay progression and harmonisation which have not moved any further forward. The introduction of a South of England Cost of Living Allowance for some people in Pay Review Bodies is to be challenged by MSF.
AEEU merger - there is to be a ballot in January.
Progress of 1999 GDM motions - there was some criticism by delegates of the information given as an update on last years motions. There appears a distinct lack of concrete information, and a statement that it has been referred to a particular committee is not helpful.
Motions submitted to the 2000 GHP GDM
MOTION FROM LIVERPOOL GROUP
Prior to the 1974 merger with ASTMS, money was dispensed from central funds to individual branches each year. The money came from membership subscriptions and the amount was based upon the numbers of members in each branch. It was pointed out that the intention of this motion was not to tap into the Section Fund, which has nothing to do with sunbscriptions, but to seek some monetary support direct from MSF. Both amendments to this motion were lost.
The Section General Secretary, Gerry Looker, informed the meeting that in order to progress this motion, an MSF rule change was required, along with renegotiation of the instrument of amalgamation. A significant number of different funding arrangements exist within MSF, and members subscriptions are redistributed to MSF branches. The political levy, however, was not redistributed.
MOTION FROM NORTH WALES GROUP
Continual delay of annual pay awards is one of the factors that undermine attempts to recruit pharmacy graduates into the Hospital Service. When competing against salaries offered by community pharmacy, the NHS salary of £10.4K p.a. compared to salaries of around £19K p.a. reported for supermarket pharmacies, is an illustration of the current problem. It was suggested by K Farrar (Liverpool) that bursaries from NMET monies could be used to support pre-registration graduates, thus increasing their salaries. It was pointed out that Trusts could have indicated potential pay levels by extrapolation of the details of the three year deal offered to other health service employees. A quicker resolution to the current problem could be achieve by immediate acceptance of the pay deal offered. However, such a move would undoubtedly be badly received by members. Inclusion in the extended Pay Review Body as envisioned under Agenda For Change would significantly alter the timescales involved.
MOTION FROM EAST MIDLANDS GROUP
The original motion was to try and get clarification and rationalisation of the problem. It was thought that a judicial review would be necessary to do this, although there might be other ways. The amendment which was carried sought to retain the spirit of the motion but increase the flexibility of approach. There were arguments that the amendment opened it up too much so that the time and place might be midnight at the local off-licence, but delegates credited Guild Council with understanding of the spirit of the motion as opposed to exact wording. A judicial review would be very expensive and it was likely that any positive result would be challenged by community pharmacy multiples, increasing the cost further. The meeting wished to remove some of the barriers which cause the problem. The Professional Secretary had tabled a paper explaining the situation, but some amendments to the paper were required due to factual inaccuracies within it with regard to the situation in Scotland.
The delegate from the East Midland Group stated that they were not seeking a final resolution within four weeks, but notes of the steps that were to be taken. It was a worsening problem and it appeared that there was major inertia within Council. It was decided by the meeting that three months was a more reasonable timescale, given that four weeks would be immediately before Christmas, and that there would be a deadline of 2.3.01 for the statement to be produced.
Two GDMs have now been held in November/December, instead of the former date in February of each year. Whilst the intentions might have been good in seeking to encourage more motions, together with an improvement in the number of members attending the GDM, the facts from the last two GDMs do not bear out the aspirations. Attendance at last year’s AGM was the lowest ever and the number of motions was little different from earlier years. The current timetable requires Groups to hold their meetings to consider motions in early September, which has proved to be too early in the Groups' timetables and very difficult to achieve. As no demonstrable benefits have been advanced by Guild Council for continuing the current timetable, it is considered appropriate to return to the February timetable. The Organisation Secretary, Anthony Oxley, raised the possibility of moving the GDM to the Friday morning of the Weekend School, but this was not popular with delegates who could see logistical problems. Siting the Day Conference too close to the Weekend School could adversely affect the submission of posters and papers for either or both meetings. There was also a suggestion that the Day Conference could be moved to be part of, or consecutive with, the British Pharmaceutical Conference. Several problems arose from this. There would still be the problem of the organisers trying to do several things at the same time; other organisations are also trying to tag meetings on to the BPC and finally, if the GDM was still to be attached to the Day Conference, the problems of arranging Group meetings to create, discuss and amend motions would be compounded rather than solved.
It was regrettable there were not more motions to be discussed and more delegates to discuss them. The President commended the Weekend School in Harrogate to all delegates and asked them to encourage members to complete the AAH questionnaire which would be arriving soon.