Focus on equality, diversity and inclusion: examples from our Knowledge hub

In this article, we look at a range of examples of notable practice where pharmacies have met our standards and had a special regard to their equality duties as pharmacy professionals and pharmacy owners.

July 2021

We have just finished consulting on our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, which marks a renewed focus on our efforts to deliver equality, improve diversity and foster inclusion in all our regulatory activities. We’re now working through all of the feedback from patients, equality groups and pharmacy stakeholders, and will be publishing our analysis later in the year.

The strategy sets our commitment to use our standards to:

  • help tackle prejudice and discrimination in all pharmacy settings
  • make sure that everyone can access person-centred care, and
  • support the reduction of health inequalities

We want to support pharmacy professionals in providing person-centred care that recognises and respects diversity and cultural differences. And, we want to use the tools available to us, to share best practice and to support continuous learning and improvement in the sector. We are also developing guidance for pharmacy owners to support them in meeting their duties under the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act, and we will be using the feedback on the strategy to help shape that guidance.

In this issue of Regulate, we are sharing good practice examples of ways in which pharmacies have met our standards, demonstrating person-centred care, taking account of the diverse needs of the communities they serve and helping support the reduction of health inequalities.

We want to shine a light on how pharmacy teams are reflecting and considering the diversity of wider society (including local communities) in the care and services they provide, and to encourage others to think about how they can do the same.

The examples below, and many more, can be found on the GPhC Knowledge hub.

Serving an ethnically diverse population in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

A pharmacy effectively communicated relevant information to its diverse local population by producing notices in several different languages and displaying them in the pharmacy’s windows. The notices explained that the pharmacy did not provide COVID-19 tests; gave directions to the test centre; and advised people what they should do if they suspected they had COVID-19 or if they had come into contact with someone who did. This ensured that people who do not have English as their first language could access the information they needed, and at the same time helped reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Working with external stakeholders and local leaders to increase take-up of COVID-19 vaccination

A pharmacy worked with external stakeholders to try and overcome the barriers to COVID-19 vaccination amongst groups within the local Black and minority ethnic community. The lead pharmacist worked with local community leaders to identify locations that were suitable for outreach vaccination clinics, and with NHS England to develop the service. They also worked with the local press to try and dispel ‘fake news’ from social media, historical myths and nervousness. The pharmacy offered private vaccination booths, which protected people’s privacy and dignity, and allowed people to choose to be vaccinated by someone of a particular gender.

Accessible pharmacy services

A pharmacy made sure that patients who have difficulties accessing services, including those with a physical disability or sensory impairment, were supported to do so through adjustments to pharmacy practices. The pharmacy and pharmacy counter were accessible to patients with mobility difficulties and wheelchairs. It offered several services to increase accessibility, including prescription collection and delivery, Monitored Dosage System trays, as well as a medicine reminder chart. There was a selection of bilingual (Welsh / English) healthcare leaflets and two members of staff, including the pharmacist, spoke Welsh, which was important for patients who had Welsh as their first language.

Supporting a pregnant member of staff to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic

A pharmacy supported a pregnant member of the team, who had to shield during the pandemic, by allowing her to work from home. The pharmacy had directed as many people as possible to submit any comments and queries to the pharmacy by e-mail rather than telephone during the COVID-19 pandemic. This kept phone lines free for urgent calls, whilst the pharmacy team member was answering emails through the pharmacy’s secure email account. This approach supported a member of the team, whilst reducing pressures on team members in the dispensary.

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