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Ridge launches plan for tackling inequalities in pharmacy

NHS England has teamed up with professional pharmacy bodies on a new plan to ensure workplaces are more inclusive and tackle health inequalities in the community. 

The Joint National Plan for Inclusive Pharmacy Practice in England, published by NHS England & Improvement today (March 10), was developed in association with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK. 

England’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Keith Ridge said: “Our 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.

“It is particularly pressing and urgent because as professionals we need to address the significant concerns brought to light through the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the vaccine hesitancy we witness in our day-to-day work and lives, as well as collaboratively tackling wider health inequalities.”

Phase one of the plan looks at ethnic and racial disparities, and urges ‘pharmacy professional leaders’ to “embrace authentic allyship” and ensure the voices of BAME individuals are heard when decisions are being taken.

It will involve training on culturally competent healthcare with an emphasis on the Covid-19 vaccine, using resources that are to be developed by professional leadership bodies and Health Education England by the summer.

The BAME phase of the inclusivity plan will also see NHSE&I working with Public Health England develop resources on tackling health inequalities, using local population data.

RPS president Sandra Gidley said: “We are proud to be collaborating with NHS England & Improvement and APTUK to make pharmacy and pharmacy practice are more inclusive. We’ll be working with them to make the ambitions of the plan a reality.”

APTUK president Liz Fidler said: “The APTUK will be outlining specific plans to meet the key themes identified in the national plan, with regard to leadership and representation and professional education and training, imminently.

“The starting point for our work will be a focus on obtaining data on our representation as the professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians and we encourage all our members to complete the survey to collect this data, when it is released.”

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