After nearly four years as director for England, Ravi Sharma will be leaving the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in October to pursue a career change.

He has been appointed head of pharmacy for Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (LDH), part of the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) group.

Paul Bennett, RPS chief executive, said that the society will be commencing the recruitment of a replacement ‘shortly’. In the interim, he will be working with Mr Sharma to deliver key objectives and appoint a successor, he added.

Mr Bennett said: ‘Ravi has made a significant contribution to the organisation during his time with us. His drive and enthusiasm for advancing the recognition of the role of the Society itself and of pharmacists and professional practice is probably best reflected by his desire to ensure a real focus on personalised medicines and his work on equality and diversity, workforce wellbeing, and most recently the development of a new vision for pharmacy in England.

‘He has developed stronger relationships and collaborative working with Government, Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, professional leadership bodies, organisations and patient groups over the years to support implementation of our policies and advocacy work.’

Mr Sharma became a Fellow of the Society earlier this year in recognition of his contribution to the profession.

He said: ‘It’s been an honour and a privilege to lead the team in England at RPS on behalf of our members, and the wider profession… Our recent collaborative work on co-creating a vision for pharmacy in England will provide the profession with a blueprint for the future. This work will continue, I look forward to seeing it develop from my new vantage point within the NHS.’

Mr Sharma said that improving care for patients and the public through pharmacy remained his ‘personal mission’ and that he was looking forward to ‘putting theory into practice’ in his new role.

‘I’m very appreciative of the fantastic opportunities I’ve had at RPS and I am confident the organisation will continue to represent the best of pharmacy and professional leadership in the future,’ he added.

Dr Pritesh Bodalia, chief pharmacist and clinical director for medicines optimisation at BHFT, said Mr Sharma was joining at a ‘pivotal’ time as the group progresses to phase two of its cross-site pharmacy integration strategy following the merger of LDH and Bedford Hospital in 2019.

‘On behalf of the PSLT we look forward to working together and what we will achieve over the next few years,’ said Dr Bodalia.

RPS’ director of education and professional development Gail Fleming and director of pharmacy and membership experience Robbie Turner also both left the organisation this year.

The RPS announced last week that the assembly was supportive of re-joining FIP and that it would be asking members whether they support re-joining before making a final decision.