Following a Public Health England (PHE) report last week (June 2) that recognised that COVID-19 disproportionately affects BAME groups, the RPS and UKBPA have jointly written to ministers in England, Scotland and Wales calling for greater support for this group.
In a statement accompanying the letter, the RPS and UKBPA said they “call on ministers to engage with the pharmacy profession to bring about real change to support and protect our workforce”.
The RPS in England letter, addressed to equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, said the organisations “would welcome a discussion” on how the government plans to “support BAME pharmacists and team members working on the frontline”.
At the time of publication (June 11), C+D was aware of six pharmacy team members who had died of the virus in the UK, four of whom were from BAME backgrounds.
“With 43% of registered pharmacists from a BAME community, we would urge you to engage with the pharmacy profession to bring about real change to support and protect our workforce,” the RPS and UKBPA added.
In the England letter, the representative bodies called for a “robust risk assessment” and protection for people from BAME backgrounds and those who are more vulnerable to coronavirus due to underlying health conditions.
“There are also wider questions about how we encourage inclusion and diversity across the health service, promoting equality of opportunity, and supporting people from more diverse backgrounds into NHS leadership roles,” they added in the England and Scotland letters
The RPS and UKBPA letter in Scotland was addressed to Christina McKelvie, minister for older people and equalities, and in Wales to Jane Hutt, deputy minister and chief whip.