News

Challenging barriers for pharmacists with disabilities

We’ve launched a campaign to challenge barriers to working in pharmacy for those with disabilities as part of our ongoing inclusion and diversity strategy.  

Our profession-wide survey on inclusion and diversity identified disability as the biggest barrier to working in pharmacy and the area where more could be done to support pharmacists.

The campaign will run until the end of March and is based on input from our Ability, volunteers with visible and non-visible disabilities including long term and mental health conditions, from the RPS Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity group.

Our campaign will focus on:

  • Reducing barriers to entry to the profession
  • Call for more accessible working environments
  • Encourage employers to collect data on disability in the workplace

To kick off the campaign, the Ability Group have asked that we call for a review of the Higher Education Occupational Practitioners (HEOPS) standards of medical fitness to train for pharmacy students. 

The GPhC define the standards of fitness, and HEOPS issue occupational health advice for schools training pharmacy students. We’ve written to both organisations calling for the guidance to be updated to reduce any barriers to entry for students.

Ability volunteer Alison Astles said: “The HEOPs guidance was last updated in 2013 and with societal and technological developments supporting greater inclusivity, a review of the standards is now overdue. This should include the assessment around functional capacity in light of society’s changing approaches to mental health and neurodiversity.”

RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said: “We want to ensure pharmacy can attract and retain talented individuals with disabilities. A review of the standards would be a positive step to making pharmacy a more inclusive profession which attracts the best students from around the world and enables them to thrive.

“We also want to give a voice to pharmacists to share their experiences of the common but underrepresented conditions that affect their lives and careers. Disability – visible and non-visible - is a part of all of our lives at some stage, whether it affects us, our family, friends or colleagues.

“Both RPS and the wider profession can make progress to ensure those who are affected by disability feel their needs are recognised and acted on, so they aren’t held back or experience discrimination. Together, we can create a workplace where people with disabilities feel they truly belong.”

Read our letter to the GPhC and HEOPS

Take a look at our work on disability

Join our ABCD group

Sign our pledge for inclusion and wellbeing to demonstrate your support for a profession that's inclusive, celebrates diversity, creates a culture of belonging, and supports pharmacy teams’ health and wellbeing.

Sign up for our webinar event tonight at 7pm to hear more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

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