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Ability E-Newsletter – July 2021

Welcome to this month's PDA Ability Network Update. This edition includes information on the Disability Confident Scheme, guidance on how to improve your mental health and well-being at work and disabled worker's experiences of working during the pandemic.

Wed 14th July 2021 The PDA

In this issue:

  • Wellbeing in the workplace – just an employee issue?
  • Is your employer Disability Confident?
  • Working as a pharmacist with OCD
  • Disabled workers’ experiences during the pandemic
  • Survey for Ability Network members
  • Getting in touch

Wellbeing in the workplace – just an employee issue?

By Richard Hutton, Locum/Consultant Pharmacist and PDA Regional Official (North)

Did you know that 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems every year? Over the last two years, over 15 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression.

Many employers provide training for their employees around resilience and wellbeing. At the PDA, we recognise the importance of self-help resources and signposting towards relevant information, such as that provided by our charity partner Pharmacist Support, as these are invaluable tools to strengthen colleagues, especially in these unique times.

However, we must also emphasise the importance of employers taking responsibility for the wellbeing of their employees. Trades Union Congress (TUC) research indicates that the biggest causes of stress at work are workload, cuts in staff, change at work and long hours, all of which are directly related to the work environment and culture, rather than the employee.

Here are 5 actions that the TUC recommends can improve mental health in your workplace:

  1. Check if your employer has a mental health policy, which should include (but is not limited to) a definition of mental ill-health, promotion of good mental health, how mental health links to other workplace policies, and the role of line managers.
  2. Ensure your employer is providing reasonable adjustments, as these should be provided to people with mental health problems to eliminate any workplace barriers.
  3. Talk to each other, as exchanging feelings and experiences can help people maintain their mental health.
  4. Raise awareness around mental health in your workplace to dispel the stigma.
  5. Work with your employer to reduce stress at work by looking at workloads, bullying, harassment and working hours.

Get involved

Is your employer Disability Confident?

By Alison Jones, PDA Director of Stakeholder Engagement 

The Disability Confident scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to their workplace. The scheme was launched in November 2020 and now has over 20,000 employers, employing over 11 million people on board. Disability Confident aims to give employers the techniques, skills and confidence they need to recruit, retain and develop people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

There are three elements, and each level must be completed before employers can move onto the next.

  • Level 1 ‘Committed’: Reflects current good practice, employers commit to specific actions that will make a difference.
  • Level 2 ‘Employer’: Organisations at this level complete an action-focused self-assessment.
  • Level 3 ‘Leader’: To achieve this level, employers put the self-assessment for validation by a third party.

The scheme is available to organisations large and small. A list of those who have already signed up for the scheme has recently been updated and can be viewed here.

Employing and getting the best from people whether or not they have a disability isn’t just great for organisations – failure to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities could be unlawful which may mean your organisation faces the reputational and financial cost of being identified as discriminating against disabled people.

The PDA opposes all forms of discrimination, supports members who have been discriminated against at work, and through our Ability Network for pharmacists with disabilities, the PDA proactively campaigns for the proper inclusion of all pharmacists, regardless of any form of physical or mental health condition.

Get involved 

  • If your employer is not yet involved, you can encourage them to sign up by visiting the Department of Work and Pensions website here.

Working as a pharmacist with OCD

Men’s Health Week (MHW) took place last month. This year, the week focused on men’s mental health against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. To coincide with this, a male PDA Ability Network member shared his experience of working as a pharmacist with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and highlighted what adjustments employers can put in place to support employees with this mental health condition.


Disabled workers’ experiences during the pandemic

By Jayne Love, PDA Organiser and Lead on Equalities

Last month, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) published the results of research carried out by YouGov about disabled workers’ experiences during the pandemic. The findings uncovered that disabled people experienced significant barriers in the workplace prior to the pandemic and that Covid-19 made the situation worse for them.

The findings show that 30% of disabled workers said that they have been treated unfairly at work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research also highlighted:

  • Structural discrimination in the labour market – recent government figures show that redundancy rates are now 62% higher for disabled workers.
  • Unfair treatment by employers – 21% of those shielding worked outside of their home most of the time, despite the fact that employers could use furlough to protect shielding workers who could not do their jobs from home.
  • Employers failing disabled workers – only 55% of those who asked their employers for reasonable adjustments during the pandemic told the TUC that they had been made in full. 30% said they did not get all of their reasonable adjustments, and 15% had no adjustments implemented at all.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We need proper enforcement of disabled workers’ rights to reasonable adjustments and safety at work, and a duty on employers to report and close the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled workers.”


Get involved

  • If you would like to share your story of being a disabled worker during the Covid-19 pandemic, please contact Richard Hutton at: You must be a pharmacist, pharmacy student or pharmacy trainee, and can remain anonymous if you wish.

Survey for Ability Network members 

The PDA would appreciate your time in completing a survey in order to understand more about what Ability members hope to see from the network, in order to inform activities going forward.

The survey is estimated to take around 6 minutes. Your responses will be confidential. Please click below to complete it. Thanking you in anticipation!


Getting in touch 

As a pharmacist and PDA member working with a disability, if you feel that you have experienced discrimination at work or whilst studying then please contact the PDA as soon as possible for advice and support. There are processes and timelines for dealing with such matters and it is important to get early advice and guidance.

T:  0121 694 7000

Follow the Ability Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAability

Please also feel free to share this mailing with a colleague that would like to read it. 

Pharmacists that are not yet members of the PDA can join here.









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