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Intersection Update – December 2023

Intersection is the PDA's newsletter bringing together news from all four PDA Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Networks. We encourage all PDA members to get involved in the networks that are of interest to them.

Fri 15th December 2023 The PDA

In this issue:

  • PDA EDI Networks respond to former Secretary of State’s letter about diversity and inclusion
  • PDA encourages members to speak out against workplace discrimination
  • Disabled workers face a wider pay gap
  • PDA sees an increase in members seeking advice on sexual harassment incidents
  • NAWP raises over £200 for Wear it Pink
  • PDA LGBT+ Network speaks out against transphobic rhetoric
  • PDA launches new flyers to promote the EDI Networks
  • In case you missed it
  • Get involved


PDA EDI Networks respond to former Secretary of State’s letter about diversity and inclusion

The former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay wrote to NHS organisations in England asking them to cease hiring dedicated equality and diversity staff.

The four networks have sent a joint letter in response to the former minister’s direction to NHS Employers, suggesting they cut their spending on diversity, equality and inclusion, addressed to the newly appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Ms Victoria Atkins.

Elsy Gomez Campos, Immediate Past President of the PDA BAME Network said, “The PDA BAME Network firmly opposes the proposal to cease the recruitment of EDI professionals. Organisations require specialised expertise to formulate and execute initiatives that effectively address existing inequalities. EDI specialists are uniquely qualified to craft policies that are free from discrimination and to champion the interests of underrepresented groups within organisations. Their role is pivotal in ensuring that diversity and equality are not only discussed but actively integrated into the organisational framework, fostering a more inclusive and fair workplace environment.”

Liam Volk, President of the PDA LGBT+ Network said, “The NHS was founded with equality in mind, and consistent evidence has shown workplaces that encourage diversity and inclusion have happier, healthier and more productive staff. As such it’s very disappointing that the former Health Secretary is scapegoating equalities and diversity in a desperate attempt to deflect from the responsibility his party has had as an architect of the decline of our health service.” 

Ayah Abbass, President of the PDA NAWP Network said, “I firmly believe if we want a safe space in the workplace, diversity and equality should be put into place. A diverse workplace means empowerment. If I see someone like myself, an Arab, Muslim woman in a leadership role then I’m more likely to believe that I can do it.” 


PDA encourages members to speak out against workplace discrimination

Since the recent publication of an Employment Tribunal judgement, which upheld seven allegations of harassment related to race against a pharmacist at work, more PDA members have shared their experiences of harassment and discrimination in the workplace, including historical incidents.In this recently published case, the PDA had a significant role in helping the pharmacist, a PDA member, achieve justice by supporting him throughout the entire process. The PDA has also previously supported many other members who encountered discrimination at various employers, including other pharmacy multiples, independent pharmacies, and the NHS.

Mark Pitt, PDA Director of Defence Services said, “Employment law includes strict deadlines and processes within which claims must be lodged if they have a chance of success, so it is important that members seek support from the PDA as soon as possible. 

We can provide advice and support, then if matters are unresolved, and the case is strong enough, we can support an employment tribunal. However, if, as is often the case, we then secure a settlement before a court makes a judgement, confidentiality clauses mean that no details can then be published.”

The PDA is encouraging members to come forward if they have experienced any form of discrimination at work. Members should note that discrimination matters have a strict deadline of three months, less one day from the last act of discrimination or the last in a series of acts.


Disabled workers face a wider pay gap 

By Liz Larkin, PDA Organiser and Co-ordinator of the PDA Ability Network

width="200"Recent research by the TUC has shown that the current disability pay gap is 14.6%, with disabled workers earning a sixth less than their non-disabled counterparts. Furthermore, shockingly, disabled women workers earn 30% less than their non-disabled male counterparts and BAME disabled women are more likely to be unemployed than any other group.

What is even more disappointing is that the disability pay gap is wider than it was ten years ago, which shows that there has been little progress in addressing this issue.

Members of the PDA Ability Network have shared their experiences of having to work part-time or as locums because of their disability, which has a serious impact on their earning potential. Some employers are reluctant to accommodate the needs of disabled pharmacists or provide appropriate reasonable adjustments. This means that a significant number of registered pharmacists, who have much to offer to the profession and the wider community, find their working lives are impeded by a lack of understanding
of their needs or willingness to be flexible to make the job do-able for a disabled pharmacist.

One in five people in the UK is disabled and disabled workers are a huge resource to the economy with many skills and talents. We know that disabled pharmacists are a highly talented group who wish to work and care for patients. But they need employers to support them to do their job and to pay them fairly for the work they do.

PDA sees an increase in members seeking advice on sexual harassment incidents

By Ayah Abbass, President of the PDA NAWP Network

width="200"Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any situation and the PDA works with other unions, PDA Representative Networks, and stakeholders to help eradicate any instances of sexual harassment that pharmacists may face in the workplace.

Sexual harassment is more widespread than many people think. TUC research in 2016 found that over half of working women had experienced some form of sexual harassment. Nearly two-thirds of women aged 18-24 had experienced some form of sexual harassment.

Whilst in recent times the PDA has experienced an increase in members seeking advice and guidance on incidents of sexual harassment, this does not necessarily correlate to an increasing number of incidents. Through PDA activities to raise awareness of campaigns, education and training, and by creating ‘safe spaces’ for members to discuss the issue, it’s hoped that members feel more confident in reporting incidents and seeking advice from the PDA. Sexual harassment has also been highlighted through increased recent media coverage with some high-profile cases, which has also encouraged more people to have the confidence to come forward.

The PDA empowers members to collectively challenge employers to do better and to help other members report incidents that they may experience or witness.


NAWP raises over £200 for Wear it Pink

This October, the NAWP Network participated in Wear it Pink – one of the biggest fundraising events of the year. The campaign, which was held on Friday 20 October, raises money and awareness for Breast Cancer Now.

President of the NAWP Network, Ayah Abbass said, “As NAWP we were proud to participate in the Wear it Pink campaign again this year to increase awareness around breast cancer. PDA members and staff got involved by wearing something pink and donating money to help make life-saving breast cancer research and vital support happen. According to the charity Breast Cancer Now, every 10 minutes someone hears that they have breast cancer. Therefore it is very important to continue to support this campaign.”

NAWP raised £210 this year, meaning that over the past 3 years, NAWP has now donated £660 to Breast Cancer Now. They also put together a poster of their photos to use to raise awareness about the cause and show their support. You can access the poster below.


PDA LGBT+ Network speaks out against transphobic rhetoric

By Soh Xi Ken, co-opted member of the PDA LGBT+ Committee


width="200"Following the statements by some senior government ministers at their party conference in October and the subsequent decision to reverse the commitment on banning conversion therapy, we want to wholly condemn transphobic rhetoric, including comments relating to wards in hospital trusts across the UK.

Earlier this year, we published a position statement on support for patients with gender incongruence (including those accessing gender identity services). This applies the PDA’s ‘Wider Than Medicines’ roadmap to gender-affirming care, in pursuit of an integrated healthcare system which ensures that transgender people receive safe and effective pharmaceutical care.

We believe that pharmacists, regardless of the sector they are employed in, have a key role in improving the care of transgender people and are duty-bound to deliver patient care that not only is of high quality but also, equitable.


PDA launches new flyers to promote the EDI Networks

In September, we launched new flyers for each of our EDI Networks. The flyers promote the networks by sharing their histories, highlighting the recent work they’ve done, and explaining how pharmacists can join.

They were released to celebrate National Inclusion Week, which was 25 September – 1 October 2023. The campaign is dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces, which is something that the networks support and do themselves.

We encourage you to download the network flyers and share them with your colleagues. All pharmacists, pharmacy students and trainees can join any of the networks, even if they are not PDA members.


Get involved

Membership of the PDA’s EDI Networks is open to all UK pharmacists, former pharmacists (e.g. retired or taking a career break), and all UK pharmacy students and trainee pharmacists. This is regardless of age, race, gender, sexual identity, disability, nationality, hours worked, or employment status. Pharmacists do not need to identify as BAME, disabled, LGBT+, or as women in order to join those networks. All networks welcome allies, people who will support equality and fairness for all.

You do not need to be a member of the PDA to join, though PDA members do benefit from a discounted membership fee. PDA members can join a network for £10 per year, retired members for £20 per year, and non-PDA members for £30 per year. In accordance with our support for future pharmacists, membership of the networks is FREE for PDA student members and trainees (PDA student and trainee membership is also FREE).





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