In her opening remarks, President Helen Remington informed Group Secretaries that no election had been held for Council seats because of the withdrawal of one of the candidates. She also noted that some members may have received their AGM papers late due to the postal strike.
She informed the meeting that the GHP Executive Committee would be meeting with Roger Spiller the next day and GHP administration would be one of the topics being discussed. Council will also be having discussions on the options for the future of the Guild. It was noted that the status quo was not an option. It appears MSF only want to deal with terms and conditions matters. Unfortunately, a wide interpretation of the 1970s instrument of joining ASTMS is possible.
There has been considerable erosion of administrative support since the 1970s. Some is due to technological improvements such as electronic distribution of papers but there are also less meetings. The number of whole time equivalents was down, but the work was still being done. There are a range of options; up to, and including, reconsidering the MSF connection. GHP benefits considerably from MSFs Labour Party connections, but involvement with the All Party Pharmacy Committee might be an option. Additionally, the President attended a meeting with Alan Milburn along with a group of senior MSF officials. She took the opportunity to make points on patient care and clinical governance with reference to Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Pharmacists were excluded from the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) but not PPP. This would not have been possible without the MSF links. Group Secretaries were reassured that, although these were turbulent times with MSF, the industrial relations services will be secure whatever happens. GHP has never had any concerns with the Section General Secretary or Regional Officer support at local level - only with central administration.
Group Secretaries were then invited to detail their problems with central administration. These were membership records - accuracy and information availability - and little or no response from head office. It was agreed that there would have been a lot more issues brought up if the Professional secretary was not available.
After the departure of Roger Kline and the subsequent reorganisation, Ian Simpson had been made accountable to Jackie Carnell, the Director of CPHVA. It was made clear that there was nothing about the GHP becoming part of, or subservient to, the CPHVA. A successful relationship has been developing over the last three months and Ian feels more integrated into MSF than in the past. Jackie Carnell is attempting to identify the GHP budget and it is hoped that this might happen this time.
International duties will also be under discussion. It was noted that as the RPSGB has no representation on EAHP, GHP is the only UK representative. On joining ASTMS, this was made clear and supported by ASTMS. It was suggested by a delegate that if MSF withdrew support for this, GHP should walk away from MSF. MSF would lose out in Europe as much as anyone else. EAHP is also a political forum as it inputs into the EU Commissions, Parliament and the Council of Europe. One result has been a common syllabus for post graduate training, and the UK has led on these discussions.
Group Secretaries were asked how members felt about the new journal. Since it is not yet self funding, it will also be discussed. It was thought to be a very useful update from the centre and that is should continue. Group Secretaries were also asked whether it should go to every hospital pharmacist, member or not. It was thought it might increase recruitment and the extra cost would be covered by increased advertising revenue.
GHP Website - www.ghp.org.uk