Protecting the Future and the Integrity of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Protecting the Future and the Integrity of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

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Sultan 'SID' Dajani started this petition to Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)

Protecting the future and the integrity of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. 

Although the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is not regulated, it is still a membership body with a Royal Charter and thousands of members.  This petition calls on the RPS to take material steps to be transparent to existing members and the wider pharmacist profession about how it is governed.

My story:

My name is Sultan Isam (SID) Dajani. I’m proud of my heritage, I am an immigrant son of a surgeon from the Middle East, but like a lot of BAME people, since primary school I have often used an anglicized version of my name and hence many people know me by my initials as “SID”. I’m also proud to be a pharmacist and for several decades have appeared in the media and been active in pharmacist organisations. I am a senior pharmacist who has served my professional body for more than 20 years, initially on the Council of the RPSGB and then since 2010 on the board of the RPS championing the interests of individual pharmacists and the profession as a whole. For five of those years I served in a senior role as RPS Treasurer.

In 2018, I stood for re-election to the board of the RPS and as had happened in previous ballots, I received the highest number of votes. However, before I attended my next board meeting, I was told I was facing an RPS investigation, I was told not to attend any RPS premises, not to undertake any functions of my office and that additionally I had been referred by way of a complaint to the pharmacists regulator (The General Pharmaceutical Council – GPhC). I believe that all of the allegations were spurious and unfounded, and some were as serious as alleging that I had bullied the finance director and additionally, that the finance director had instigated an investigation in which it was alleged that I had knowingly submitted eleven falsified claims for taxi fares between 2014 and 2017 in which I had profited a total of around £94 for journeys undertaken on behalf of the RPS. 

The fact that to me, this seemed like a perverse diversion of the attention away from the really substantive issues that I was consistently raising to the same FD about the finance department, I nevertheless completely disputed these allegations and continue to do so. As a Treasurer and also as an elected board member I was duty bound to ask difficult and probing questions of the finance department and get answers to questions I had about how the RPS was managing members’ funds. I believe I was effectively whistleblowing by raising concerns about the fact that I was not receiving answers to questions on various financial matters; some questions still remain unanswered.  There is no doubt in my mind that these ‘allegations’ were being made against me because I was asking awkward questions. Astonishingly, the Finance Director actually confirmed in writing that he was only presenting the evidence because I had been re-elected. 

I estimate that the RPS spent c. £50,000 of membership fees to prepare the purported case against me and then to organize my disciplinary process to unceremoniously remove me from office. Someone was not satisfied in just ending my 20-year term of service at the RPS, an attempt was also made to end my career as a working pharmacist as the details of the ‘allegations’ including the ‘evidence’ was then passed to the GPhC. However, the GPhC concluded that I had no case to answer; this was unsurprising, since I had done nothing wrong; but it must have been an outcome that the RPS found uncomfortable. After years of service to members, no thank you or other statement was made about me, my name was simply removed from the RPS membership list and another candidate filled my role with no proper explanation given to members. I have always disputed the reasons given in their opaque ‘judgement’ but, I have been told that I can no longer be an RPS member.

Since these events I have tried all possible routes to be reinstated, spending more than £80,000 on legal advice because I care about our professional body. However, the RPS in my view relies on anachronistic rules which in effect, enable them to get rid of troublesome individuals if they are minded to. 

In my case, I have been removed from RPS membership and prevented from asking the awkward questions through allegations that I have refuted vehemently, for which I have not been prosecuted and for which the GPhC concluded that I had no case to answer.

In contrast, I recently became aware that a pharmacist that occupies a senior position within the RPS organization has previously been arrested and admitted to committing a sexual offence, has earned a disciplinary sanction from the GPhC and was removed from his job as a superintendent pharmacist. That the RPS, despite knowing about this, have allowed this person to continue in membership and also in a senior role within their organisation, raises questions about their values, and makes me question the treatment that I have received. At a time when the national consciousness on sexually motivated offences through high profile incidents is at an all-time high, that the Professional leadership body with a Royal Charter can knowingly allow this to be the case in my opinion is utterly astounding. 

Outside of the appalling lack of judgement and mismanagement on their part, what conclusion can be reached about the different treatment and internal investigation that that case and mine have had at the hands of the RPS? 

I question how disputed allegations about me which lead to no action by any disciplinary body or the police against me, should enable the RPS to ban me from membership when a man has admitted engagement in a sexually motivated crime but is still allowed to continue his RPS membership and retain his senior position, can be a fair outcome? I believe that my case highlights other matters of importance to RPS members in which the RPS have demonstrated their mismanagement, lack of openness and transparency, and poor judgement. This is why I am launching this petition.

My request:

This petition calls upon the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to take material steps to be transparent to existing members and the wider pharmacist profession about how it is governed.  Specifically, signatories to this petition call upon the RPS to:

·        Explain how their internal disciplinary procedures can lead to such different outcomes as described above.

·        Establish new, fair and transparent internal disciplinary procedures which provide the opportunity for fully independent appeals to be heard. 

·        Declare their membership numbers in each category of membership to help ensure transparent governance.

·        Commission and publish an independent review of all financial transactions relating to the sale of the previous RPS head office building in Lambeth High Street which resulted in the RPS receiving only half of the £30million it was subsequently sold for.

·        Provide members with full transparency and accountability on how it is spending members money – including but not limited to the aggregate amount of money since 2011 paid to staff upon exiting the organisation.

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