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NAWP Newsletter – September 2021

Welcome to the latest issue of the NAWP newsletter - the quarterly mailing that keeps you up-to-date on news, events and issues that relate to women in pharmacy.

Wed 15th September 2021 The PDA

Welcome to the NAWP September 2021 Newsletter

In this latest edition, a NAWP member shares her safety concerns of working as a female pharmacist, and a self-proclaimed “Pharmapreneur” gives advice to empower women to succeed and excel in their careers. This issue also includes an article from the President of the NAWP Network and personal accounts from trainee pharmacists.

In this issue:

  • Should I feel guilty for feeling unsafe?
  • Should Menopause spell ‘Career Pause’?
  • Government calls for evidence on Women’s Health Strategy
  • A view from trainee pharmacists: The 2020-2021 pre-registration year
  • How I became a “Pharmapreneur”
  • Follow the NAWP Network

Should I feel guilty for feeling unsafe?

By Ayah Abbass, NAWP Network Committee Member and Community/GP Pharmacist

It was a normal working day, I got into the car, put the radio on and started driving – mentally preparing for my day as a Responsible Pharmacist. Halfway through driving, I heard the news on the murder of Sarah Everard and burst into tears. Sarah – how many females can relate to your case? How many of us have been in a similar situation but had a lucky escape? I could not sleep for days and kept thinking how sickening this situation is.

The whole week I was reflecting on my life as a woman and the number of times I have felt unsafe: the number of times I thought someone was following me, or getting flirty remarks that I felt I was forced to brush away at work because I was scared of the consequences, whilst feeling uncomfortable inside and fearing how the situation could have got out of control.

I am a pharmacist and I have to work late evenings to help patients who find themselves in emergencies. The solution isn’t to stop working those dangerous hours as a female pharmacist. But how can employers make us feel safe at work?

I have worked in several places where I had to be left alone as other members of staff had to go on a break. I had to pretend to be strong in front of patients and pretend someone else was in the back of the pharmacy. But I know, deep down that if something happened and I pressed the panic alarm, it might be too late. I have heard of horror stories in pharmacies where a panic alarm has been used but the response came after an hour – is that safe?


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Get involved

Should Menopause spell ‘Career Pause’?

By Naina Chotai, President of the PDA NAWP Network

Menopausal symptoms at work can be tough, and some women are reluctant or even afraid to talk to their employer about it. Are Pharmacy employers any better at dealing with pharmacy staff and Menopause?

In 2011, the British Occupational Health Research Foundation published research by the University of Nottingham, which explored women’s experiences of working through the menopause. They found that ‘Heavy and painful periods, hot flushes, mood swings, fatigue and poor concentration can pose embarrassing problems for some women, resulting in lowered confidence.’ 

They also found that:

  • Many women are ill-equipped to manage their symptoms at work and tend not to disclose their symptoms to their manager, particularly if the manager is young and male.
  • Where women have to take time off work to deal with their symptoms, many do not disclose the real reasons for their absence.
  • Workplaces and working practices are not designed with menopausal women in mind.
  • Women consider working part-time, despite the concern about the impact on their career, whilst some even think about leaving employment altogether.
  • Women feel they need further advice and support.

NAWP urges all pharmacy employers to:

  • Provide a culture where women feel comfortable about discussing their symptoms and what impact that has on their working lives.
  • Consider flexible working hours and arrangements to help affected women manage symptoms and ensure that sickness absence procedures are flexible enough to cater for menopause-related sickness absences.
  • Consider the menopause when carrying out and implementing health and safety risk assessments and ensure that the working environment (such as temperature and ventilation) will not make symptoms worse.

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Get involved 

Government calls for evidence on
Women’s Health Strategy 

By Alison Jones, PDA Director of Policy

In March 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care launched a call for evidence around their development of a Women’s Health Strategy for England with the aim to set out an ambitious and positive new agenda on women’s health.

NAWP responded to the call for evidence in June and focussed on the need for high-quality information and support, recognition of the causes of health inequalities, and the significant role of employers in supporting women in the workplace and reducing the stigma around women’s health-related issues.

The role of the pharmacist, as a highly accessible healthcare professional that often sees women across various stages of their life course, was also highlighted as having a critical part to play in supporting women’s health and widening access to health advice and treatment in local and familiar surroundings.

NAWP felt that more could be done to formalise this to maximise the skills and opportunities that pharmacists have to widen access to healthcare for women resulting in improved health outcomes.

Naina Chotai, PDA NAWP Network President said, “NAWP is proactive in raising awareness and opening up the conversation around many health issues which affect women. Too often, consideration of women’s health is limited to issues linked to reproductive function rather than the broader issue of the health of women and the causes of health inequality. This was a great opportunity to contribute to the development of future government policy for women’s health.”


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A view from trainee pharmacists:

The 2020-2021 pre-registration year 

By Aneesa Ahmed, NAWP Network Committee Member 

The 2020 – 2021 pre-registration year has proven to be difficult for UK trainee pharmacists. The additional challenges faced by trainees owing to the coronavirus pandemic included working in a higher-than-normal pressured work environment whilst battling with the uncertainty surrounding the training year itself and the pre-registration exam.

Below are a few reflections compiled from trainees regarding their challenges, especially for those with caring responsibilities, and highlighting some of their coping strategies.

“Dealing with a postponed exam in continuum with changes in personal circumstances such as having a baby and moving house gave me anxiety. However, Pharmacist Support provided a safe environment in which I could share my feelings without fear of judgement.”

“Adjusting to the pre-registration year was difficult as I was unsure how to revise; unlike university, there is no definite structure. There are many independent tutoring companies, and it is difficult to ascertain which are worth the price. Useful guidance was provided by provisional pharmacists, who signposted me to helpful resources.”

“Finding time to revise whilst looking after a baby and working full-time was challenging. It took a lot of mental effort to get through it, but with the support of my family and friends I managed to persevere.”

“The lockdown meant it was difficult to destress by socialising with friends and colleagues. However, utilising lunch breaks for this purpose helped take my mind off revision and work.”

Overall, trainees appreciated the PDA’s Education Hub resources and the support they had received from the PDA.



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Get involved

How I became a “Pharmapreneur” 

By Sobha Sharma Kandel, NAWP Network Member and “Pharmapreneur”

I am the Superintendent Pharmacist and Co-Owner of Neem Tree Pharmacy, Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy and Plumstead Pharmacy. Currently, I am doing a part-time PhD in Pharmacy Practice at the Medway School of Pharmacy, and I have also previously worked as an NHS Senior Clinical Pharmacist Prescriber in a GP Practice.

As a mother of 4 children, homeschooling and childcare were a challenge for me during Covid-19, as it was difficult to juggle work and family life. My job role has also been affected as I have had to be a lot more involved as a pharmacist due to the pandemic and our vaccination clinic.

The only way to balance everything as a woman is to think about what will work for you as an individual and a family. I am lucky to be able to plan my own workload and I also have a strong support network at home.

Advice for women in the workplace

For women wanting to get into this position, I would advise that hard work, focus and resilience are your strengths. Push your boundaries as a woman, think outside of the box and create a vision of what you want to achieve, and work hard towards that goal. Be brave and believe in yourself and your abilities. Do not miss opportunities, be confident and go for it.


Learn more

  • Sobha appeared in P3 Pharmacy earlier this year.
  • Follow Sobha on Twitter here.

Follow the NAWP Network

During Cervical Cancer Screening Awareness Week, NAWP shared various resources and information to encourage, educate and empower members to attend their cervical screening appointments. NAWP updated their Facebook page every day during the week to raise awareness amongst members and are constantly working to discuss issues of relevance to the network. To join the Facebook group, please click here.

Not a fan of Facebook? Use #PDAnawp on Twitter and Instagram to post on issues relevant to women pharmacists and to suggest recommended reading for allies of the network.

NAWP has previously produced factsheets around ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and the menopause. If you have ideas about what areas of women’s health NAWP could address next, please email

Finally, look out for NAWP at the CPC and Pharmacy Show! Support them by joining in at their Women in Pharmacy events.














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