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LGBTQ+ charity launches free resource on inclusive pharmacy practice

Manchester-based charity LGBT Foundation has launched a free resource to help pharmacy teams provide inclusive care to their communities.

The Pride in Pharmacy resource – which can be downloaded free of charge – gives pharmacy teams tips on how to care for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+)  patients, from how to use inclusive and open language to raising awareness for cancer and HIV screenings.

“Community pharmacy is in a really strong position to build positive relationships with LGBTQ+ communities”, Pride in Pharmacy coordinator Stevie Watson-Andrews said during a webinar to launch the resource yesterday (May 25).

“Pharmacies are local, trusted, accessible spaces for those who find it difficult to access other types of healthcare,” she said.

For these reasons, “it’s absolutely crucial that the pharmacy teams feel confident to support communities who experience unequal access to healthcare”.

General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) chief executive Duncan Rudkin also attended the webinar.

“There is a lot of good practice out there” in terms of inclusive pharmacy care, he said, welcoming the new resource for pharmacy teams.


What does the training include?


The charity produced the guide through its Pride in Practice programme, which provides free in-person or online training to primary care providers, including community pharmacies.

However, community pharmacy teams “are extremely busy” or sometimes lack “space to hold training on site”, Ms Watson-Andrews said.

The resulting workbook – which can be worked through in pharmacists’ own time, as a team or individually – “is arranged in bite-sized modules”, which take between five and 15 minutes to complete, Ms Watson-Andrews said.

Pride in Pharmacy’s first section covers themes such as how to use open language, challenge assumptions held about patients and create “a visibly inclusive environment”, and “is aimed at everybody who works in a community pharmacy, from counter assistants to pharmacy technicians and pharmacists”.

The second section has a more clinical focus, “reflecting on public health campaigns” and providing dedicated guidance on how pharmacists and clinicians can care for their transgender and non-binary patients.

There is a glossary at the end of the resource for anyone “who is brand new to LGBTQ+inclusion”, as well as a list of LGBTQ+ organisations pharmacy teams can refer their patients to, Ms Watson-Andrews added.


“Business case” for providing inclusive care


There is a business incentive for pharmacies to provide dedicated care to their LGBTQ+ patients, Mr Rudkin said.

Ms Watson-Andrews added to his point by referring to a recent LBGT Foundation survey, in which a respondent said they would be more likely to visit a pharmacy that had LBGTQ+ literature on the walls to signpost its inclusive approach, rather than one that did not.

Mr Rudkin added that “the more we’re able to make our environments welcoming and inclusive for patients, the more staff will feel […] able to be themselves at work, in a virtuous circle”.


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