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Why pharmacy professionals must step in when they see racism

Experts from across pharmacy reveal how pharmacy professionals can assist victims of racism in C+D's webinar – catch up in full by listening to the podcast

Following the shocking results from the C+D’s racism survey, which showed that two-thirds of pharmacy staff had faced racist abuse from patients in the previous six months and 56% of professionals from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds suffered it from colleagues, clinical editor Naimah Callachand hosted a webinar with a panel of industry experts to discuss how to overcome racism in the sector.

The webinar featured:

  • Ade Williams – superintendent pharmacist at Bedminster Pharmacy, Bristol
  • Lola Dabiri – Scotland and Northern Ireland lead for the UK Black Pharmacists Association and superintendent pharmacist at Alpha Pharmacy and Clinic
  • Alima Batchelor – head of policy at the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA)
  • Shiraz Khan – head of healthcare operations at Superdrug
  • Mohammed Hussain – senior clinical lead at NHS Digital (but representing his views alone in the webinar)

During the session on August 6, the panel discussed the forms of racism that pharmacy teams face from both patients and colleagues.

Mr Khan emphasised the importance of creating a safe environment for pharmacy professionals to come forward and report any cases of racism, while Ms Batchelor shared some shocking results from the PDA’s racism survey.

Mr Williams spoke about how some BAME pharmacy staff have to regularly experience the trauma of abuse while still presenting themselves professionally. Pharmacy teams need to take responsibility for their actions, the speakers agreed. Ms Dabiri said individuals need to consider whether they are being “complacent” about the issue of racism in pharmacy or if they have any unconscious biases.

All these factors contribute to structural racism in the pharmacy, which Mr Hussain discussed in terms of the “hierarchy of power”. He suggested that by breaking down the barriers that shore up systemic racism, pharmacy staff would be more confident in reporting offensive incidents.

You can listen to the podcast below. Alternatively, subscribe to C+D's podcasts on iTunes or by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred Android podcast app.

Please note, the sound quality of this podcast may be affected as it has been recorded remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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