A new chair has been elected to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's (RPS) English Pharmacy Board (EPB), vowing ‘to ensure elected members are seen and heard’.

Erutase Oputu, (left) lead pharmacist at Barts Health NHS Trust, has replaced Thorrun Govind, promising 'the right set of skills and experience to take us through a unique period’ of changes across pharmacy leadership and the healthcare landscape.

Collaboration, connection and allyship 'will be crucial to how the EPB navigates its way through a pivotal moment in the history of the pharmacy profession', she said.

'My intention as chair will be to ensure that our elected members are seen and heard. Each was elected with a mandate to do their best for the profession and my aim will be to collaborate closely to amplify their voices and ensure that the sum is greater than the parts,’ she added.

Ms Oputu has also promised to implement post-board meeting communication by elected members via social media posts, 'in order to connect with the profession and beyond’, and to 'pursue much-needed board development workshops’.

Engaging with the British Pharmaceutical Students' Association 'in order to connect with pharmacy students so they can understand the significance of membership of the RPS in their early careers' was also a priority, she said.

'There will be hard decisions to be made however I am confident in facing the challenging and turbulent times ahead and will represent the views of the EPB and work collaboratively with our counterparts in Scotland and Wales,' Ms Oputu said.

'I am passionate about the difference we as a profession make to people’s lives. I care deeply about what we as the EPB can do to make a positive difference for our fellow pharmacy professionals in England. I hope that as chair I will be able to do even more.'

Meanwhile, outgoing chair Ms Govind said her two-year tenure had been a 'whirlwind'.

'I don’t ever want to be someone who hangs on forever,' she said. 'It’s important in organisations that new people grow and take opportunities – what is best for the profession.

'It's been an absolute privilege to work with some amazing people to advocate for pharmacy and focus on policy.’

She added: ‘It's been a whirlwind two years, from hosting a roundtable with the Royal College of General Practitioners to working with the British Medical Association and others to protect healthcare staff during Covid, and highlighting the difficulties and abuse we face due to medicines shortages.

'It has been an honour to represent the RPS at the Covid memorial, speak in parliament to celebrate women in pharmacy, and to sit on the BBC Breakfast show sharing RPS research.'

Meanwhile, Brendon Jiang, senior clinical pharmacist at North Oxfordshire Rural Alliance Primary Care Network, has been elected as vice chair of the EPB, with EPB board members Ciara Duffy, Thorrun Govind, Alisdair Jones and Sorbi Khattak elected to the RPS Assembly.

Andrew Carruthers has been re-elected as chair of the Scottish Pharmacy Board, while Geraldine McCaffrey has been elected as chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board. Cheryl Way has been elected to the RPS Assembly.