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BAME pharmacists remain over-represented in FtP concerns, data shows

Six in 10 FtP concerns received in 2019/20 were against BAME pharmacists
Six in 10 FtP concerns received in 2019/20 were against BAME pharmacists

GPhC data has shown that ethnic minorities continue to be over-represented in fitness-to-practise reports, C+D has learned.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) received a total of 1,322 FtP concerns against pharmacists between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, according to figures obtained by C+D through a freedom of information (FOI) request.

The FOI data provided a breakdown of the concerns raised against pharmacists according to the different ethnicity groups on the GPhC register.

Almost two-thirds (59%) of the concerns raised against pharmacists were against black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) professionals, who together made up 48% – 28,659 of 59,373 – pharmacists on the GPhC register during April 1 2019 to March 31 2020 financial year.  

Close to a third (29%) of concerns related to pharmacists from a white background, who in 2019/20 made up a total of 42% (25,228) of pharmacists on the register.

The ethnicity of 9% (5,486) of pharmacists on the register in 2019/20 was “not stated or recorded”. Concerns made against this category amounted to 12% (161) of the overall number.

A smaller number of concerns that were submitted to the regulator, 131, related to pharmacy technicians – of which there were 24,878 on the register in 2019/20.

Of these concerns, 76% (100) were against white pharmacy technicians, while 13% (17) were made against pharmacy technicians from an Indian background. White pharmacy technicians represented 83% of those on the register, while pharmacy technicians from an Indian background made up 6%.

Ethnic minorities over-represented

The FOI data analysed by C+D revealed that in 2019/20 some ethnic minority groups were over-represented in FtP concerns relative to their population size on the register.

As of 2019/20, there were 169 pharmacists identifying as “mixed – white and black” on the register, but this group had seven concerns raised against them in this period. This number of concerns is 86% higher relative to the expected number based on this ethnic group's population size on the register.

“Asian – Pakistani” was the second most over-represented ethnic group in FtP concerns in 2019/20. This group constituted 9% of the pharmacists on the register, but received 14% of overall concerns, representing a 52% increase over expected concerns relative to the population size on the register.

Those who identified as “black – African” represented 6% of the register, but had 9% of concerns raised against them, meaning the percentage of concerns related to this group was 41% relative to the population size on the register.

GPhC: “Disproportionately high number of concerns about BAME professionals”

At the end of last month (October 29), the GPhC launched a consultation on its new strategy on how to better manage concerns raised against pharmacy professionals.

As part of this strategy – the consultation for which will run until January 21 next year – the regulator’s objective is to understand “why it receives a higher number of concerns about BAME professionals than should be expected”.

In its consultation document, the GPhC said that, in 2019/20, 55% of the concerns it received were from members of the public, 17% from other healthcare professionals and 7% from employers.

“We are considering collecting more data about the sources of concerns, to help us take the appropriate action to deal with any bias that we discover,” it added.

What do you make of these figures?

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Pure racism 100%!!

Everybody knows this, open secret!!!!

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

Racism by who?

Linda Victoria, Community pharmacist

This is an unfair world with unfair measurements against the pharmacists, I wish there are measurements for pharmacists to rate ftp of managers , and rating how abusive and threatening some ungrateful customers can be. Please present the figures of FTP issues of pharmacists during lockdown which would be very interesting too. Please bear in mind, pharmacists always get complaint whenever and wherever because the demands are higher and higher from the customers and the companies that we work for with most dentists, GP , opticians being shut so what else could you expect to be better?

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Everyone bleating about beating racism when it is staring the profession directly in the face, institutionally

Put it this way, 30/40 years ago there were a certain race that used to dominate the profession albeit very discretely, it was highly respected and the funds ringfenced.

Fast forward it to today, there is another 'type' of race that make up a huge number of independent contractors but the funding is being eroded away like a cliff edge. 

That's the real racism that needs tackling.

Getting Shorter, Community pharmacist

The same issue was raised back in, if I remember by where I was working at the time, about 1994 by the then out-going chair of StatCom. Glad to see that in the 25 years following, those-powers-that-be have at least gotten around to acknowledging the statistics, although they appear to be a long way from even beginning to understand how or why they arise, leave alone finding any answers. Maybe come back in another 25 years time...

R G, Pharmacist Director

Under FOI will GPhC release details of cases with similar complaints but different FtP outcomes? I am aware of one case where a BAME pharmacist was struck off for an error. The BAME pharmacist had taken over the superintendent post shortly after the date of error and was struck off the register. This fact did not come to light until after the FtP hearing. The decision was not reversed even after this fact came to light and the Council President informed. How can any pharmacist respect such decisions made by the FtP committee! Not sure if this was BAME related or just incompetence by people in power. 

Oliver Staunton, Information Technology

That would require some statistical analysis but it would be difficult to find a number of cases which are identical or comparable.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Two questions: 1. Who raises these concerns? If it is the public then the GPhC can only investigate what comes in front of them and must do so withoutfear or favour.

2. As someone else asked - what are the outcomes? Do they reflect a bias (for or against)?

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

It is in the story --

"In its consultation document, the GPhC said that, in 2019/20, 55% of the concerns it received were from members of the public, 17% from other healthcare professionals and 7% from employers."

-- I am struggling to see who or what is being called racist here, can someone help me?

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

...are you saying that there is NO racism ? And the people who raise it are crying fowl for no reason? Are you white ? Middle aged? Male ? 

I can see why you are struggling to comprehend and why you are in denial. Were this to be a ftp case, you d be running the risk of demonstrating zero to  no insight.. which could have catastrophic consequences on your continued ability to earn a living.

Dave Downham, Manager

I think it might be more pertinent to see what the results of the hearings are. If there is a higher than average level of acquittals, might suggest something

Tim B, Locum pharmacist

So are quota to be set for offending bame  pharmacists which gphc cannot exceed re sorting them out. Bloody ridiculous 

Hope Mask, Locum pharmacist

I completely know from experience that there are serious racial issues in Pharmacy. These have obviously been covered up with behaviours which cannot be directly called race related. But stealth hatred against non white Pharmacist is deployed in activities such as harassment in the work place, bullying, unnecessary concerns and complaints which are mostly unfounded. I have personally been at the end of these harassing behaviours in different organisations. The new way racial hatred is deployed these days is by subtle harassment at work. It is becoming clear to us all. 

Dee dee, Community pharmacist

Totally anecdotal. MOST pharmacists receive some type of harassment at work. Harassment is not a race issue. Half of pharmacists are BAME, and your saying that they are treated badly because of their race? If so we would have heard about this before BLM came along.

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

the point my friend is that HALF OF PHARMACY support staff are not BAME.

Dee dee, Community pharmacist

We do not live in a statistically perfect world. Just because BAME constitute 48% of the register does not mean that they should constitute 48% of FtP cases. This constant race agitation must stop. It is creating a racial issue where none exists.

It's like the issue with Black pharmacy students having a higher failure rate in the pre-reg exam. Is the exam racist? This is getting beyond ridiculous.

Also, there is a higher proportion of the register as BAME than there is  white, yet we are still being force fed the lie that pharmacy has an intrinsic racist problem. It's absolute nonsense. Bandwagon jumped. 




C A, Community pharmacist

"Census in 2011 highlights that in England and Wales, 80 per cent of the population were white. Asian (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, other) 'groups' made up 6.8 per cent of the population; black groups 3.4 per cent; chinese groups 0.7 cent, arab groups 0.4 per cent and other groups 0.6 per cent."


I'm glad pharmacy has a diverse employee base.

I would like to know, are BAME pharmacists working in more deprived areas? Are patients just racist? Are BAME pharmacists more likely to be contractors/employees/locums? Does that make a difference? What is going on? 

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