As part of its inclusion and diversity strategy, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has launched a campaign to challenge barriers to working in pharmacy for those with disabilities.

A profession-wide survey on the subject conducted by the RPS, identified disability as the biggest barrier to working in pharmacy, highlighting the area of work to support pharmacists.

The campaign will focus on reducing barriers to enter the profession, developing more accessible working environments and encouraging employers to collect data on disability in the workplace.

The campaign, based on inputs from the RPS Ability Group volunteers with visible and non-visible disabilities, will run until the end of March.

Following recommendation of the RPS Ability Group, RPS has written to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) the Higher Education Occupational Practitioners (HEOPS) to update the guidance on standards of medical fitness for pharmacy students.

RPS Ability volunteer Alison Astles said: “The HEOPs guidance was last updated in 2013 and with societal and technological developments supporting greater inclusivity, a review of the standards is now overdue. This should include the assessment around functional capacity in light of society’s changing approaches to mental health and neurodiversity.”

Royal Pharmaceutical Society president professor Claire Anderson

RPS president professor Claire Anderson said: “We want to ensure pharmacy can attract and retain talented individuals with disabilities. A review of the standards would be a positive step to making pharmacy a more inclusive profession which attracts the best students from around the world and enables them to thrive.

“We also want to give a voice to pharmacists to share their experiences of the common but underrepresented conditions that affect their lives and careers. Disability – visible and non-visible – is a part of all of our lives at some stage, whether it affects us, our family, friends or colleagues.

“Together, we can create a workplace where people with disabilities feel they truly belong.”

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