The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is planning to revitalise its network of RPS Local groups with a new programme of events in 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a shift in operational delivery of the RPS Locals, the Society says in a letter sent to local co-ordinators this week.
“We had to re-assess the way in which we interacted with members and reflect upon how we enabled members to interact with each other. This took some time as we got through the last 18 months,” explained Robbie Turner, RPS director of pharmacy and member experience.
Despite the success of some local groups and significant investment over a number of years, member interactions with RPS Locals is variable across Great Britain.
Mr Turner said: “Most members have not attended a local event even in those areas with highly active RPS Locals. Those who have attended in the past do value the opportunities and benefits they bring; we do not want to lose that."
A “blended approach” to RPS Locals is being developed for 2022, based around one large face-to-face event per area (areas are to be defined as part of the next steps). This will be organised by an RPS Local ‘steering group’ with support from the RPS team, or fully organised by RPS team if required.
There will also be at least three blended events per year consisting of national online content using RPS Live structures with local networking. These will initially be online with an intention to move to a hybrid model of face-to-face and online.
The RPS will be recruiting the RPS local leads/coordinators to help support the development of the new model over the coming months. A national lead will also be recruited to support the implementation of this model in late 2021.
The Society launched RPS Live earlier this year, building on its webinar series during the pandemic. More than 155 webinars have been delivered in 2021. It is also currently developing RPS Connect, an online member only community that will allow RPS members to take part in discussions, ask questions to the wider membership, share ideas, connect with peers.