The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has issued a public commitment to “fight against racism wherever it appears”.
An “anti-racist statement” was unanimously approved by the RPS Assembly in a meeting held on 17 March 2021. In the statement, the Society says it goes beyond being “passively not racist” and pledges to “engrain a spirit of active anti-racism at the heart of everything we do”.
The statement notes that while racial inequalities exist across society, “within pharmacy we do have our own problems and disparities that must be tackled”; for example, undergraduate and pharmacist preregistration assessment pass rates and disproportionate over-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic pharmacists in fitness-to-practise cases.
The Society has set out 11 commitments as part of its proactive anti-racist stance. Among these, it will “proactively increase diversity within our national boards and expert advisory panels”; publish its ethnicity pay gap on an annual basis; and thoroughly investigate “any accusation of racism”, taking a “zero-tolerance approach to any RPS member, elected official or employee who has acted in a racist manner”.
It also pledges to advocate for pharmacy’s role in “addressing health inequalities and poorer outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic patients”.
At the Assembly meeting, Robbie Turner, director for pharmacy and member experience at the RPS, said the Society had “heard some upsetting experiences from people who hadn’t experienced the profession as a welcoming place”. He added that the Society has an obligation to help ensure the profession is “as fair and as welcoming as possible for all members of society”.
Turner expressed his thanks to those members of the profession “who have spoken to us with heartfelt stories of their experiences”.