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Pharmacists with disabilities should be better supported, RPS survey finds

Out of 839 respondents to a Royal Pharmaceutical Society survey, 56% thought more should be done to support pharmacists with disabilities.

Wheelchair depicting disability


Shared at a workshop at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society London headquarters on 4 November 2019, the survey results highlight the importance of providing extra support to pharmacy staff who face disability, age or gender discrimination

Some two-thirds (66%) of respondents to a Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) survey on inclusion and diversity said there were several career barriers in pharmacy, with the biggest being disability.

Of the 839 respondents, 43% identified disability as the biggest barrier, and more than half of the respondents (56%) thought that more should be done to support pharmacists with disabilities.

One respondent commented that “there seems to be no real professional support for physically and mentally disabled pharmacists”.

“It is a constant struggle,” they added.

Age was perceived as a career barrier by almost a quarter (24%) of respondents, with pregnancy and maternity leave highlighted as a career barrier by around one in five respondents (21%).

The survey, which ran from 28 August 2019 to 11 September 2019, was designed to help inform the RPS’s new inclusion and diversity programme, which launched on 21 August 2019.

Chaired by Asif Sadiq, head of inclusion, diversity and belonging for the Telegraph Media Group, the programme aims to improve inclusion and diversity across the pharmacy profession.

The survey — which was open to members and non-members — was designed to explore current perceived gaps in inclusion and diversity support.

Although age discrimination was flagged as an area of concern, the survey showed that 50% of respondents thought the profession was already doing well addressing this issue. And 57% of respondents thought the profession was currently doing well in supporting pharmacists in matters relating to marriage and civil partnership.

Just under half (46%) of the respondents thought that the sector was doing enough to support inclusion and diversity related to race, but 38% thought that more could still be done.

Only one in five (20%) respondents felt that the RPS was currently doing enough to support those experiencing issues relating to gender reassignment.

The survey results were shared at a workshop held at the RPS London headquarters on 4 November 2019, during which members and stakeholders were invited to share their experiences and suggestions for how to improve inclusion and diversity across the pharmacy sector.

The results will be presented in more detail at the RPS annual conference in London on 17 November 2019.

The output of the survey and workshop will inform an RPS policy on inclusion and diversity, to be published in March 2020.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207304

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