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  »   AbilityLatest News   »   PDA Ability Network Newsletter – December 2023

PDA Ability Network Newsletter – December 2023

Welcome to the PDA Ability Network Newsletter. In this issue read about how we are celebrating Disability History Month and how you can get involved in research into the Electronic Prescription Service. Also, learn about where you can get support if you are struggling with your mental health this winter. 

Tue 5th December 2023 The PDA

In this issue:

  • Celebrating Disability History Month 2023
  • What is the Disability Pride Flag?
  • Electronic Prescription Service: User research
  • Seasonal affective disorder and getting support
  • PDA challenges employers to employ neurodiverse and disabled pharmacists
  • Get involved
  • In case you missed it

Celebrating Disability History Month 2023

Disability History Month is running from 16 November to 16 December 2023 and is an annual event focusing on the history of disability and the struggle for equality and human rights.

To celebrate Disability History Month, we are taking the time to explore some of the key achievements and milestones of the PDA Ability Network since it was first launched in April 2020 with the aim of proactively addressing and campaigning around disability discrimination and its causes and consequences.


In the network’s first year, the first newsletter was released. The newsletter provided an opportunity to discuss disability discrimination and how we secured over £200K in compensation for a member with Asperger Syndrome who was wrongly dismissed by their employer. The network continues to release regular newsletters highlighting issues that those with a disability are facing in the workplace and what can be done to overcome these issues. All past issues of the newsletter can be found here.




What is the Disability Pride Flag?

The Disability Pride flag was originally designed in 2019 with a lightning bolt band of five bright colours along with a charcoal background. However, some concerns were raised about the brightness and array of colours meaning that the flag was not fully accessible to some people with disabilities. The flag was redesigned in 2021 with more muted colours and softer angles to allow the flag to be more accessible.

What the colours represent 

  • Black – represents those who have been subjected to ableist violence
  • Green – represents those with sensory disabilities
  • Blue – represents those with psychiatric disabilities
  • White – represents those with invisible disabilities and/or undiagnosed conditions
  • Yellow – represents those with cognitive and intellectual disabilities and other neurodivergence
  • Red – represents those with physical disabilities.

The Disability Pride Flag is in the public domain therefore everyone, with and without disabilities, is encouraged to use and promote it.


Learn more


Electronic Prescription Service: User research 

By Tamara Farrar, Senior User Researcher at NHS England


My name is Tamara Farrar and I’m a Senior User Researcher at NHS England. I work with the team who develop, run, and maintain the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) and its many related services. Our team works alongside wider programmes of work to deliver the technology that allows EPS to flow prescriptions from prescribers to dispensers and we have a lot of exciting new work in the pipeline.

The role of a user researcher is to understand and share the needs of our users with wider teams so that the development of services provides value and we bring the real-world empathetic context in which our services are used. We do this through quantitative and qualitative research with users, which can take many forms, for example, we may run interviews, have users test a prototype, or send out surveys and other online activities.

We are currently aiming to understand more about how the EPS Tracker (sometimes referred to as ‘prescription tracker’) is used and particularly, the experiences of people with additional access needs of the service. Through this, we will be able to make informed decisions about improvements to the tracker so that it is accessible for all our users, as well as prioritise the most important features of the tracker that enable you to do your job most effectively.

If you would like to be involved with this work, we would love to hear from you, you can sign up by clicking this link and leaving your details, or by emailing




Seasonal affective disorder and getting support

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also known as ‘winter depression’ is a form of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Most sufferers’ symptoms become more apparent during the winter months. Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • A persistent low mood
  • Feelings of despair, guilt, hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite

Getting support

It’s important that anyone suffering from SAD, or any other mental health condition, knows that they are not alone and there is support available. Those suffering are encouraged to contact their GP if they’re struggling to cope. There are also specific mental health charities and helplines that can be used such as Mind, the Samaritans, the Mental Health Foundation, and more. Pharmacists who are struggling can also contact Pharmacist Support.

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness is a UK-based charity that aims to help people create a happier world. They encourage people to get together regularly, learn evidence-based skills for happier living, feel a sense of belonging, and they encourage people to take personal actions to create more happiness.

The charity has a free app that encourages its users to complete one action of happiness per day. This could just be one way we can work to try and improve our mental health this winter.


Learn more


PDA challenges employers to employ neurodiverse and disabled pharmacists

On Monday 16 October Mark Pitt, PDA Director of Legal Services spoke at The Pharmacy Show about workplace inclusion and the importance of pharmacy employers supporting neurodiverse and disabled employees.

Mark argued that including disabled and neurodiverse employees is not just a matter of conscience, but by not supporting this group, employers are losing out on a pool of talented pharmacists. Mark also pointed out that there are legal risks and reputational issues for employers who discriminate against such employees. This is not just about having inclusive policies, but also demonstrating that such policies are being practiced, this way, such employees are supported and valued at work.

Awards for disability discrimination are uncapped. In 2019 one NHS employee was awarded £208,724.90 by the Employment Tribunal due to the disability discrimination she faced and unfair dismissal. More details can be found here.




Get involved

  • Follow the PDA Ability Network on social media using #PDAability
  • For more information about the PDA Ability Network, click here.
  • If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, email

In case you missed it






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)