Campaign letter for RPS elections 2021: Zena Uppal on inclusion and mental health

This is a campaign letter for the 2021 RPS national pharmacy board elections. The views expressed in this letter belong to the author. Find out more about the RPS elections.

Hi, my name is Zena Uppal and I am a hospital pharmacist. Since COVID-19, I have been redeployed to critical care. More recently, I have started working with the Emergency Planning and Business Continuity Team at Kings College Hospital, where the key priority is coordinating and delivering COVID-19 vaccines. Having a keen interest in the future of the pharmacy profession, and what that landscape may look like, I have recently started a new role as Early Careers Training Programme director (TPD). My time is now split between the Early Careers TPD role and the Emergency Planning role at KCH.

My three key reasons as to why I would like to be elected are:

  1. I am passionate about embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into the heart of our practice,
  2. The future direction for pharmacy and how this will improve patient outcomes, and
  3. Ensuring mental health and wellbeing of staff is at the forefront of our profession.

Following the recent report that people of a black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME) background were disproportionately affected by COVID-19, as well as the recent RACE report from the government, I am keen to ensure that equality, inclusion and diversity is at the heart of our professional practice. In September 2020, The Pharmaceutical Journal‘s annual salary and satisfaction survey found an 11% ethnicity pay gap between white respondents and those from BAME groups. I believe it is vital that we continue to address these issues to ensure our profession remains aligned with some of its core principles.

I am also extremely passionate about the future direction for pharmacy. COVID-19 highlighted the important role that pharmacists play in each sector, and how adaptable we have been in what will likely be the most challenging time of our careers, while having demonstrated the excellent care we delivered. I am enthusiastic about showcasing the versatility and expanding role of pharmacists delivering high quality patient care.

Finally, there is a growing need to prioritise mental health and wellbeing of staff. This should make up a core part of the profession and I am keen to ensure that this is not only an afterthought, but is thoroughly embedded within our practice.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this letter.

Zena Uppal, election candidate, English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, April 2021;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.79251