COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Home  »   BAMELatest News   »   BAME Pharmacists’ Network – March 2022

BAME Pharmacists’ Network – March 2022

Welcome to this month's BAME Pharmacists' Network Update.

Thu 24th March 2022 The PDA

This month, read about the intersectional challenges a pharmacist has faced in the workplace and tips on how to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in recruitment. Also, learn more about what was discussed in last month’s ‘Stand Up To Racism’ event ran by the Trade Union Conference (TUC). 

In this issue: 

  • Overcoming the challenges of intersectionality
  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Standing up to Racism
  • Psychological Safety – The Power of Many
  • We must take healthcare into our diverse communities
  • Some quick tips on EDI and recruitment
We encourage you to share this mailing with your pharmacy colleagues. 

Overcoming the challenges of intersectionality

By Farzana Haq, Senior Practice Pharmacist

Through taking an intersectional approach, the pharmacy profession is now beginning to understand the complexity of prejudices that an individual could face.

We all have multiple social identities such as race, gender, socio-economic status and disability. My own experience of being a South Asian female Muslim with a working-class background and living with a chronic non-visible disability (lupus) has meant having to navigate a number of intersectional issues.

I don’t believe I started my career on ‘a level playing field’ but despite this, I was determined to succeed and be a high achiever. However, I quickly noticed I was judged more harshly over other colleagues.

I do think you are scrutinised 10 times harder when you are a person of colour. Women are more likely to face microaggressions that challenge their competency, and even more so for BAME females in my experience. I’ve been in situations that made me feel inferior where my differences to my colleagues were highlighted.

Lupus isn’t well understood in the profession especially as I look ‘healthy’ from the outside. Employers have been resistant to being flexible with working hours and duties or allowing remote working during flares. I don’t feel I was given the same workplace opportunities because I worked part-time to manage my condition. I had vast potential to do more and was keen to develop but the equity of opportunities wasn’t there. At times I cannot go over expected hours of work without it having a negative impact on my health, yet in the past I felt I was pressurised to do extra work unpaid. Ironically, I was then advised to prioritise my tasks and be more resilient.

Women who experience microaggressions are twice as likely to burn out which can lead to high staff turnover. Employers who don’t take intersectionality into account risk overlooking these experiences.

Employers may discriminate against an employee if they:

  • Fail to make reasonable adjustments.
  • Don’t assess whether there is any causative link between lupus and the employee’s behaviour/performance before taking action.
  • Make offhand comments relating to menopause, as these may amount to harassment.

International Day for the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination 2022

The PDA is an anti-racist organisation and to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21), the PDA highlights the importance of helping pharmacists to stand up against any form of discrimination and its causes and consequences.

The PDA BAME Network enables all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic pharmacists to realise their potential and raise their profile by being educationally, socially and politically active. The network works to tackle issues around race discrimination in order to achieve equality in the workplace.

In order to reach this goal, since the BAME Network launched in April 2020, they have hosted a number of events such as an event to overcome Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy and an event for Black History Month. The Network also launched a Race and Ethnicity Terminology factsheet to help all PDA members, and others, educate themselves on the terminology used when discussing issues and topics around race and ethnicity.The work of the BAME Network provides a community space where members can openly share their experiences and proactively address and campaign around race equality, tackling racism and its causes.

This ties into this year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is “VOICES FOR ACTION AGAINST RACISM”. This year’s theme recognises the work that both individuals and organisations can do to fight against racial discrimination.

Dorothy Egede, Honorary Secretary of the PDA BAME Network, said “To echo the simple message of the United Nations since its inception, this is a call to remind the world of the deep history around the theme of this day. In these recent times, I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to take up actions against any condition that continues to perpetuate racial discrimination in both public and private spaces of our society. It is paramount that we are intentional about doubling down on our efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. I enjoin you to lend your voice to the struggles of fighting racism and stand up against it in whatever capacity you can. And I leave you with some words from Kofi Annan, to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with generosity. Racism, can, will, and must be defeated.”


Standing up to Racism 

By Manuella Asso, PDA Organising Assistant

PDA Organising Assistant, Manuella Asso attended the Stand Up To Racism Trade Union Conference last month which focused on fighting for Anti-Racist Workplaces.

The “Standing up to Racism” conference brought together members and activists from different unions across multiple sectors in the UK to denounce the government’s divide and rule tactic that empowers and reinforces racist behaviours. It also served to galvanise efforts to maximise union turnout for the demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on the UN’s day for anti-racism.

The event gave around 1,000 union activists an opportunity to come together, share experiences and actions they have taken to lead the fight of racial injustice and drive the work on anti-racism within their own unions. This was followed by several workshops including a discussion on the Nationality and Borders bill which will take away the right to seek asylum in the UK and the government’s new policing bill which further targets Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists, many of whom may already be subject to discriminatory treatment at the hand of the police.

The conference shed new light on the negative impact Covid-19 had on black and other minority people at the height of the pandemic and reminded us that it wasn’t because of their genetic makeup as we were led to believe, but due to the unfair socio-economic conditions that they had been subject to for years.


Psychological Safety – The Power of Many

By Ranjit Kirton, Behaviour Innovator in Health and Social Care

Ranjit has spent 28 years working in the NHS, starting as a junior and then rising to senior leadership. Ranjit is registered with the British Psychological Society with a Master of Science and has a passion for innovating workplace behaviours while embedding a culture of psychological safety for the people who deliver health and social care services.

While we invest millions to keep our workplaces free from physical harm, we often fail to consider investment in prevention of psychological harm. Education on psychological safety, embedded widely within your organisation, will truly protect your people, your most precious asset.

We have growing evidence of bullying, harassment, and exclusion having a direct correlation with inequality, poor health and wellbeing, reduced care quality, increased errors and high sickness rates.

Sadly, this type of behaviour continues for many in healthcare settings.

Embedding psychological safety will evidently reduce inequality, turnover, and sickness rates, improve health and wellbeing, and increase productivity, truly leading to a safe, compassionate, and inclusive culture.

Workplace psychological harm carries a high risk to individuals, for example, depression, anxiety, irritability, poor cardiovascular and gastric health, and traumatic stress.

Recent research suggests that if we invest in psychologically safe environments, we reduce inequality by better understanding the harm exclusion can have.

When leaders operate with a psychologically safe mindset, the harm of exclusion in turn is reduced.

However, this requires the power of many, not the few to embed real positive change to the matter of inequalities.

Learn more 

We must take healthcare into our
diverse communities

By Gurinder Singh, GP Practice Pharmacist, Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice at University of Reading and Community Pharmacist at Boots UK

The ongoing pandemic has laid bare the health inequalities amongst our local communities. Over the last two years, we are more aware of health disparities, and we have started to have these conversations more. People from minority ethnic groups are more likely to test positive for Covid-19, go on to have excess mortality and further are less likely to seek care when needed.

As a result, it is paramount we take healthcare into our diverse communities. I pushed the local council and our local CCG to have a Covid-19 vaccine clinic at our local place of worship – the Gurdwara. It took me several attempts but knowing the importance, I did not give up in continuing with these efforts.

The NHS responded by organising this on a Sunday when there would be the greatest turnout of worshippers. A couple of weeks beforehand, I arranged for a Sikh GP to address the congregation with information about Covid-19 and vaccinations. We ensured there was multilingual staff available on the day of the vaccinations – in total we had 5 different languages available.

We had people from various ages and backgrounds turn up for both their first vaccine and booster. A place of worship is comforting for so many. It provides a safe space, reduces the language barrier and when local religious leaders endorse it, the public can trust the message. Historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare are just some of the reasons why groups of patients have not gone to their GP or a mass vaccination site.

The work that grass-root organisations and local communities have done is just beginning – we must make sure our local councils, the government and the NHS continue with this work and that the conversation continues. We must meet the needs of our diverse population and take healthcare to those who need it most.

Learn more 

Some quick tips on EDI and recruitment 

By Machel Bogues, Associate Researcher at the University of Johannesburg and EDI Consultant
The business case for diversity is well established through a variety of reports and research: companies with strong gender and ethnic diversity are 15% and 35% respectively more likely to outperform their competitors (McKinsey); when employees ‘think their organisation is committed to and supportive of diversity, and they feel included’, their ability to innovate increases by 83% (Deloitte). Whilst the benefits for diverse and inclusive workplaces is now well-trodden ground, that pathway to get there is, perhaps, less so.

Employers often decry the lack of diversity in talent pools is a position that is hard to square with the fact that graduates from Asian, Black and minority communities are around 5.5% times more likely to be unemployed than their white peers.

How then do we address this discrepancy? We can do this by being purposeful enough in recruitment advertisements and making sure they reach a diverse audience. We can also make use of all available networks and specialist recruiters. Additionally, we can use recruitment as an opportunity to promote a commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) by prioritising flexible working policies, staff groups and other policies.

Increasing the number of people from diverse backgrounds who apply is one step. Selection must also work to eliminate bias. There are a number of other actions that can be taken for more senior roles such as:

  • A US-style Rooney Rule guaranteeing an interview to underrepresented communities.
  • Using online portals that will enable and support blind recruitment.
  • Using unconscious Bias Training as part of a recruitment process with UBT offered in close proximity to making a decision.

Whatever the process(es) are, they must work to eliminate bias and enable decisions to be taken on the basis of a candidates’ skills and experiences.


Related link

  • Follow Machel on LinkedIn here

Keep up to date with the BAME
Pharmacists’ Network on social media 

Follow the BAME Network on social media by clicking on the icons below.

Please use the hashtag #PDAbame in your posts when discussing any relevant topics and issues, as this will also help you connect with other pharmacists in the network.







The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)