Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Ash Soni will not seek re-election to the role at the RPS Assembly next week, the society has announced.

Mr Soni, who has held the position since July 2017 and was elected to the role on two previous occasions, will be stepping down to ‘focus on other areas’, the RPS announced today (9 July).

During his tenure, he helped bring about last year’s introduction of a criminal defence around inadvertent dispensing errors in registered pharmacies as a member of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board.

He was elected a vice-president of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) after playing ‘a major role’ in ensuring its 2018 conference took place in the UK for the first time in nearly 40 years, and oversaw an RPS relocation from Lambeth to near Tower Bridge that brought ‘substantial savings’ and helped secure the society’s ‘long-term future’, the RPS said.

Mr Soni named the presidency as one of the proudest moments of his career, alongside receiving an OBE in 2014 for services to pharmacy and the NHS.


‘Focus on other areas’


Mr Soni said: ‘From my personal perspective it’s the right time for me to focus on other areas where I will have the time to support the further development of pharmacy and pharmacists.

‘These include Stepcare, an initiative in India where I am involved in building two new primary care centres from the ground up.  I will also be expanding my role at NHS England around system leadership, and my role within the National Association of Primary Care, integrating pharmacy into Primary Care Home, the leading primary care network.’

Mr Soni will remain a member of the RPS Assembly and the English Pharmacy Board, the RPS confirmed.


‘Considerable contribution’


RPS chief executive Paul Bennett thanked Mr Soni for his ‘considerable contribution’ as well as his ‘hard work and dedication’ over many years.

He added: ‘Having worked with Ash during his recent presidency I know this will not have been an easy decision for him to reach, but I respect his decision to not contest the forthcoming elections and in so doing give opportunity for other elected members sitting on the Assembly to take on this demanding role.

‘I understand that Ash will also continue to work closely with NHS England as a Local Professional Network (LPN) Chair and with the many other healthcare organisations that he works with and we look forward to seeing his continued contribution to the development of our profession.’