Second PDA BAME Network event discusses the Sewell Report and its effects on pharmacists and wider communities

The PDA BAME Network Committee recently hosted their second event to discuss the Sewell Report which offers a non-progressive approach to racism in the UK.

Fri 18th June 2021 The PDA

The meeting opened with Alison Jones, PDA Director of Stakeholder Engagement, sharing details of the GPhC’s consultation into its 5-year Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy for 2021-2026. Alison also encouraged attendees to get involved by responding to the consultation directly, if they haven’t done so already, this can be done here. The consultation is open until 12 July 2021. The PDA will publish its full response to the GPhC’s consultation shortly.

Manuella Asso, PDA BAME Network Coordinator, gave a brief summary of the Sewell Report and highlighted the PDA’s position. Manuella reiterated that the PDA was disappointed in the report and completely rejected the notion that there is no evidence of institutional racism in the UK. Manuella talked about examples of countless members who identify as BAME who have come to the PDA for representation or advice because they have been discriminated against at work. Manuella also shared some of the actions that the PDA has taken to help tackle racism in the profession and suggested that the government implement recommendations from previous reports as a starting point.

Elsy Gomez Campos, PDA BAME Network President, welcomed members’ opinions on the report. Several members shared their views including Soh Xi Ken, pharmacy student and Honorary Secretary of the LGBT+ Network, who said,The conclusion and summary of the study have made it hard to accept the few good points the report makes.”  Soh went on to share that the authors of this report indicate that they sought opinions but failed to include details of them in the report.

Nahim Khan, PDA Regional Committee member for the North, said that at least two of the authors of this report have previously said that institutional racism doesn’t exist”  whilst Bayo Adegbite, Regional Committee member for the South East, highlighted that “The report was not a true reflection of the majority of BAME people’s actual real-life experiences… all that was wanted from this report was the truth.”

Sherifat Muhammad Kamal, Vice President of the PDA BAME Network, said that “the report glosses over the issues and does not tell us its purpose.”

These sentiments were largely echoed within the discussion, and many agreed that the report could cause division.

A lively discussion ensued on the impact of the report on the pharmacy profession and how the pharmacy sector should move forward in addressing racial inequality and supporting members to challenge discrimination. Members recognise the progress that the NHS has made and they would like to see the NHS take even more action, such as developing standards for contractors and creating and implementing policies that support and encourage tolerant, positive and respectful behaviours towards all colleagues in the workplace.

Network members also discussed the inequality in MPharm student performance and the need for more ethnically diverse resources and research for students. The question was raised on how to empower young pharmacists at the educational level.

BAME Network member Degu Gagandeep shared her experience in academia of universities’ working towards decolonising their curriculum. This was echoed by Soh Xi Ken who said “we need to stop assuming that every patient is white. Introducing people of colour into the curriculum should be normalised.”

Sherifat Muhammad Kamal added, We can take views from everyone as long as they recognise the issues that are happening. The standard is to be good to all – irrespective of colour or race. We represent what we can see and feel and that will really bring in the diversity.”

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