Royal Pharmaceutical Society

No-one should be left behind

by Amandeep Doll, RPS Inclusion and Diversity Co-ordinator 

We launched our inclusion and diversity strategy in June, developed in collaboration with the pharmacy profession. Whilst our profession is diverse, with 60% of pharmacists being women, and 45% of registrants from an ethnic minority background, this does not mean it is inclusive. Members told us disability is a barrier to working in pharmacy and needs more support and improvement. Other barriers highlighted were age, race, and pregnancy and maternity status.

Since then we’ve since set up our Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity group to help inform and deliver the strategy.  As networks already exist around particular protected characteristics, our group provides a space where people can bring their whole-self and use their personal and professional experiences from different sectors and backgrounds to inform and define what we do. Allyship is key to changing culture for the long-term; we need to help and lift each other up to ensure a level playing field. It’s important we actively help each other to become inclusive. Hundreds have joined already and we’re always open to new people. If you’re passionate about I&D join us and help deliver our strategy for the profession.

In progressing I&D we will need to tackle hard and difficult issues, which is why collaboration and agreement is so important to ensure we bring about meaningful action for the months and years ahead.

We’ve heard loud and clear there are too many barriers standing in the way of fantastic talent that can drive the profession forward and improve patient care.

We need to make sure our leadership is reflective of the profession. The impact of not seeing yourself in current leaders has a real impact on your sense of self, as well as your future aspirations.

Enabling leadership from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities is part of this. Our series of events for Black History Month in collaboration with UKBPA involves celebrating contributions by black pharmacy professionals, with leaders discussing some of the barriers they’ve faced, along with the importance of allies and their hopes for the future. Watch our website for more details on these events.

We are working with partners and stakeholders to ensure the profession is set up to enable people to aspire to and demonstrate leadership in the roles they play. Increasing their visibility is part of our plan across the protected characteristics.

A sense of belonging unites us to create a truly inclusive workplace, it also supports collective progression and continuing success without leaving any individual or group behind, and in which everyone feels they can truly be themselves and thrive.

We have also agreed to work together with NHS England and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK to improve inclusive pharmacy professional practice that develops the professions and addresses health inequalities in the populations they serve.

Complex issues take a long time to fix. We are at the start of our journey of looking at all our work through the lens of inclusion and diversity – join our ABCD group and help to ensure no-one is left behind.

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As we brace for a surge of coronavirus infections, we know that pharmacy will be at the forefront of delivering healthcare.

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