The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has announced that Ashok ‘Ash’ Soni OBE has been elected as the organisation's first ever pharmacist president.

Mr Soni was elected at the NAPC annual general meeting last week, taking over the role from Dr Jonny Marshall.

Mr Soni is the past president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the vice president of International Pharmaceutical Federation and holds non-executive director roles at Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust and NHS Sussex.

He is also a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, honorary fellow of The University College London school of pharmacy, and was a board member of Health Education South London from 2013-2015.

As president of the NAPC, Mr Soni will work to represent the interests of primary care professionals, including general practitioners, nurses, practice staff, pharmacists, opticians and dentists, while shaping the future of primary healthcare.

In particular, the NAPC represents primary care professionals within the NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare professionals across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Soni said that he was ‘very proud’ to be the first pharmacist elected to the position of NAPC president throughout the organisation’s 20-year history.

‘It demonstrates how much the NAPC believes in the breadth of the primary care family and reinforces the vital role of pharmacy in delivering true integration: the right care in the right place at the right time,’ he said.

‘I’m incredibly excited about the future of NAPC. We are ahead of the game having led the development of neighbourhood care, population health and integrated working for over two decades. Our work has led to new, innovative care models and influenced national policy. I look forward to seeing this work continue to grow and flourish,’ he added.

Outgoing president Dr Johnny Marshall commented: ‘It’s been an honour to serve as president of NAPC at such an exciting time for the organisation. NAPC’s work across the country to promote and support a population health-based neighbourhood approach is improving outcomes for patients and experiences of our staff. We are now getting a glimpse of what a whole health and care system looks like – and NAPC has been at the heart of this transformation.

‘Ash’s appointment as NAPC President will bring enormous value. His skills and experience will strengthen the breadth of knowledge and diversity and ensure pharmacy has the representation it deserves.’