New joint national plan to make pharmacy practice more inclusive

25 May 2021

The GPhC is one of 12 partner organisations supporting a new national plan for inclusive pharmacy practice in England

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge, Royal Pharmaceutical Society President Sandra Gidley, and Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK President Liz Fidler, on behalf of the 12 partner organisations, have written to pharmacy professionals in England asking them to work to deliver the plan in their healthcare setting with a focus on continuing to address vaccine hesitancy and reducing health inequalities more broadly.

The plan has been co-produced by an advisory group working with a wide range of partners from across national organisations in the pharmacy sector. This group organised a national Roundtable meeting in August 2020, which identified the plan’s themes and content, and co-produced the publication in September of a Joint National Statement of Principles on Inclusive Pharmacy Professional Practice which underpins the plan.

The aim is to work collaboratively to develop and embed inclusive pharmacy professional practice into everyday care for patients and members of the public, in order to support the prevention of ill-health and address health inequalities within our diverse communities.

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England Dr Keith Ridge said: “We’d like pharmacy professionals across all sectors of healthcare to engage with and implement this plan and to make it a priority in whatever way works for you and your team, so becoming more inclusive becomes a part of everyday practice.

“The distressing impact of health inequalities on people’s lives, which has been amplified since the onset of COVID-19, demonstrates we have a long way to go as professionals to genuinely understand, celebrate and make the most of the benefits of our diversity for improved healthcare provision. 

“It couldn’t be more important as we know that developing culturally sensitive healthcare is key to preventing ill-health, increasing vaccine uptake and protection from serious disease, and managing long-term conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma, that are of higher prevalence in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and which increase the risk of someone being more adversely affected by COVID-19.”

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“We are delighted to be one of the partner organisations for this plan and are committed to working collaboratively with everyone across pharmacy to develop and embed inclusive pharmacy professional practice. The aims within the plan closely reflect our own aims within our strategy on equality, diversity and inclusion, which is currently out for consultation.”

The plan sets out actions for pharmacy professional leaders and their teams at all levels and in all care settings to consider, including developing their understanding of the benefits of diverse teams and culturally competent healthcare service delivery to address inequalities; and ensuring the voices of colleagues from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are fairly represented and equally heard in decision-making forums.

Collaborative projects will develop a ‘menu’ of accredited training and resources for pharmacy professionals on culturally competent healthcare service delivery; and a resource pack to help pharmacy teams learn how to use local population health data to help them engage with diverse communities to design culturally competent approaches to health inequalities.

Accompanying resources to support implementation are available via the new Inclusive Pharmacy Practice - FutureNHS Collaboration Platform.

The plan will continue to be developed through subsequent national roundtable meetings including one in Summer 2021.

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