Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It's an election Jim - but not as we know it

Naturally, I was elated to learn that I had been elected to the English National Pharmacy Board and even more pleased that I would have at least two years in which I could get stuck in and make things happen. I naively assumed that all of those who had been elected for three years had polled more highly than those who had been elected for two years - or even one. Some of us then started to compare notes. 

The full breakdown of results can be found here. From my perspective it seemed fairly logical that I had the seventh highest vote and  was elected to serve a two year term. But, current President, Martin Astbury must be feeling a little hacked off because he topped the poll only to find that he also faces re-election after two years and Sid Dajani, who came second, is safe for three years. Even stranger, Graham Phillips, who came fourth in the poll will have to put himself up for re-election after a year. 

There were two female academics slugging it out for the academic post. Rachel Airley polled 128 more votes than Claire Anderson but it is Claire who is elected for three years and Rachel who is only safe for two years. 

How can this be right?

Close inspection of the voting rules shows that the sectoral places are the first to be filled (this is a change from the previous board elections) but some fairly arbitrary rules appear to have been applied with regard to which sectoral posts are elected in each part of the three year electoral cycle. If you top the poll in the community, hospital, primary care or industrial pharmacist category you are elected for three years. If you top the poll in the academic world then you are only elected for two years. So this means that Rachel, who topped the poll, is elected for two years and Claire, who came second but also had the highest vote once the sectoral places had been filled, is elected for three!!

If you are still with me then let's have a look at the category in which I stood - community. I was beaten by David Carter and Graham Phillips but they have one year places and I have two because I managed to get a place under the any sector criteria. 

Those are the rules I understand but I really can't understand why Martin and Sid both stood for "Any sector and community employee" and the one with the highest vote isn't elected for the longest period of time. 

All of this does upset my sense of fair play and I will get an answer to the Sid/Martin question but ultimately there are too many issues facing the profession and obsessing about an election system will not move us forward. 

I apologise for being very nerdy in my first blog post as an elected pharmacy representative but it seemed a fitting bridge between my past parliamentary life and my current pharmacy world. However, I have now begun to fulfil one of my election promises which was to blog about my life on the RPS. There will be more to come and I welcome feedback  and questions from anyone who may be reading this.