Organisations and individuals — including pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy support staff — are invited to sign the pledge to demonstrate a “public commitment to “be inclusive, celebrate diversity, create a culture of belonging and support pharmacy teams’ health and wellbeing”.
The pledge is part of the Society’s five-year ‘Inclusion and Diversity Strategy‘, published in June 2020.
Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, said the pledge was “an initiative that is extremely important for us at RPS, and one that has clearly resonated more than ever, after the past 18 months.
“It does not just stop at signing, however — we endeavour to follow up this pledge with action and are committed to making a real difference.”
Boots, the UK’s biggest pharmacy chain, has signed the pledge and Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots, said this was “just a start” for the multiple.
“We have gone through a long period of listening to our colleagues, understanding the matters that are important to them, and that must continue,” he said.
“We need to make commitments and actions. It’s an iterative process, where it builds on many of the things that we currently do. It builds on our mental health first aid training approach, our mental health awareness approach; it builds on the focus that we have on health inequality.”
Judith Palmer, chief pharmacist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust — who has also signed the pledge — said that the COVID-19 pandemic “has highlighted how, as a society, we’re not as inclusive as we need to be, and certainly has highlighted the need for us to ensure good mental health and wellbeing of all our staff. So, for me, the timing of this [pledge] is really good.
“It puts a real platform in place to start looking more in depth about what work streams we can bring in to try to improve equality and diversity across the whole [pharmacy] department, as well as continue a lot of the compassionate cultural kindness work that we’ve been trying to embed over the last year.
“We’ve recently established a Pharmacy People Experience Committee within the department. And [the pledge] is going to be on their agenda for how we can move this forward. And that’s in terms of looking after our staff but, fundamentally, it’s about getting the best outcomes for the patients.”