More clarity about the direction of the new pharmacy professional representation group is needed, the director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in England has said.

In an interview with The Pharmacist last month, James Davies said he hoped that more transparency and information about the group and what it is seeking to do would be revealed now that it has been launched and a chair appointed.

The Independent Pharmacy Professional Leadership Advisory Board was set up in October by the UK’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officers (CPhOs).

The board aims to support and enable collaborative working between organisations representing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to speak ‘with one voice’ on behalf of the professions and to develop a more permanent arrangement for UK pharmacy professional leadership for the future.

And while the RPS is one of the 19 members of the board, RPS director for England James Davies told The Pharmacist last month that ‘there hasn't been a huge amount of transparency about it in the public domain as yet’.

‘I think we're all sort of watching and waiting now to see where that group is going to go and what it's going to be [and] what it's going to take forward,’ he said.

‘But I'm hoping that now the new chair is in post and the various bodies get brought together, we'll start to get a little more clarity about what is seeking to do and how it's seeking to do it.’

He added that better communication about the group to the pharmacy sector ‘would have been helpful’ between the announced intention of the CPhOs to create the group and ‘the announcement of a chair six months later’.

‘And so, I'm hoping now we have a chair that that transparency might increase,’ Mr Davies told The Pharmacist.

The board will be independently chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, who currently chairs the Health Foundation and acts as chief negotiations adviser on the Voluntary Pricing and Access Scheme for branded medicines (VPAS) for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Mr Davies said: ‘I think everyone's agreed, we need a strong professional voice. And we need the pharmacy sector to be as strong as possible as a result of that.

‘Now, if this group can go ahead and achieve that, fantastic.

‘But it's certainly not going to do that where it is today. It's got one person as a chair, and we need to understand a little bit more about where it's where it's going to go.’

Alongside the group’s chair and representatives from 19 professional organisations, CPhOs have also sought to recruit nine independent expert members to join the advisory board.

The Pharmacist has approached NHS England for a comment.