Reuben Dunbar shares how the Pride in Pharmacy training and support programme aims to help pharmacy teams feel confident in the ways they can provide more equitable healthcare to LGBTQ+ people.

Why is Pride in Pharmacy important for both pharmacy teams and patients?

The aim of Pride in Pharmacy is for every LGBTQ+ person to be able to walk into a pharmacy and feel safe, accepted, seen, and supported by the healthcare professionals who provide their care.

We know that delayed engagement with healthcare providers due to fear of discrimination or lack of understanding is a significant barrier for LGBTQ+ individuals, and that delay leads to poorer health outcomes overall.

Pharmacies are a key point of contact for patients, and schemes like Pharmacy First mean that we can anticipate higher levels of that contact in community pharmacy.

Our Pride in Pharmacy education programme empowers pharmacy teams with a better understanding of the difficulty their patients can face while accessing healthcare, and we provide structured support with practical solutions to those barriers.

Overall, our aim is for pharmacy teams to feel confident in the ways they can provide more equitable healthcare, and for patients to feel equally confident that they will be treated with care and respect.

What can pharmacy teams do to make their pharmacy an inclusive space?

A key point of improving LGBTQ+ access to healthcare is to encourage earlier engagement with services.

A positive way pharmacies can do this is to work on making their pharmacy a more visibly inclusive space, both in-person and online. For someone who's unsure about how they'll be treated in a healthcare setting due to past negative experiences, seeing a poster or noticeboard with LGBTQ+ resources can be reassuring.

On a similar level, working on the team's confidence with inclusive language is a very important step towards creating a supportive and welcoming space.

What can pharmacy team members do to learn more?

Pride in Pharmacy is made up of an assessment and training module that takes team members through LGBTQ+ history, specifically in legislature and healthcare, and then delves deeper into the intersecting marginalisations and barriers that lead to poorer health outcomes.

We then support teams to increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ identities in their practices, and provide ongoing education resources after they have achieved their Pride in Pharmacy accreditation.

By engaging with our programme, teams not only gain access to our in-depth education module, but also to our resource packs of information from specialists across different areas of healthcare and LGBTQ+ advocacy.

Our team page on LGBT Foundation's website has further information on how to reach out and start working towards making your pharmacy a more inclusive space.

Reuben Dunbar leads the LGBT Foundation's work with community pharmacies and coordinates Pride in Practice, which works to improve the experiences of LGBTQ+ people accessing primary care services.

Pride in Pharmacy grew from the Pride in Practice work, and the team has worked with individuals and teams across the community pharmacy sector and has learned first hand about the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals accessing healthcare through pharmacies, as well as the needs of the teams who support them.