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New report reveals significant awarding and attainment gaps for Black trainees in pharmacy education


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This persisting issue leads to the profession losing talented potential pharmacists from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds, says BPSA President 

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for action on differential degree awarding and registration assessment attainment gaps for Black trainees in initial pharmacy education and training.

According to a new report published by the RPS on Tuesday (6 February), there’s a pharmacy degree awarding gap of 12 per cent and a registration assessment attainment gap of 22.6 per cent between Black and White trainees.

The variation in pharmacy attainment for Black trainees was first recorded by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in 2013, and the Pharmaceutical Journal has been tracking the awarding gap at undergraduate level.

Even after a decade, significant differences exist in the awarding and attainment gaps for Black students and trainees compared to their White counterparts, the report said.

Amandeep Doll, RPS Head of Professional Belonging and Engagement and lead author of the report, commented: “The gaps that persist are inequitable and deeply disappointing, with real world impacts on individuals and their careers.”

“This report is a call to action for the entire pharmacy community to prioritise the reduction of degree awarding and registration differential attainment gaps and provide greater equity for Black trainees.”

She reiterated that RPS and its partner organisations are committed to addressing this issue.

“By working together, and implementing the recommendations of the report, we can make a real difference and create a more inclusive and diverse pharmacy profession which ultimately benefits patient care,” she added.

To create the report, the RPS collaborated with several other stakeholders including the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA), the Black Pharmacists Collective, the Black Pharmacist Initiative, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), NHS England Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Team and the Pharmacy Schools Council.

BPSA President Nonyelum Anigbo expressed concern that the differential attainment gap continues to hold back many Black trainee pharmacists from becoming qualified, leading to the profession losing “talented potential pharmacists” from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds.

“Equitable changes need to be made to ensure Black pharmacy students and trainees are given opportunities and support to reach their full potential and successfully join the pharmacy workforce,” she said.

To tackle the gap, the report recommended that data collection and analysis should be improved and role models should be promoted.

Additionally, it suggested removing bias from processes and providing support during the transition from pharmacy student to foundation training placements.

Furthermore, the report emphasised the importance of educational supervisor training, the implementation of protected learning time in foundation trainee placements, and an annual equality, diversity and inclusion forum to ensure good practice is being shared across Schools of Pharmacy and training placements.

As informed by the RPS, smaller task and finish groups will be created to act on the recommendations, and there will be a working group meeting every six months to update on actions.

Addressing the differential attainment gap is also one of the top priorities for NHS England’s Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Programme, which is supported by RPS, APTUK and 13 other national partner organisations.




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