A new working group has been set up to address disparities in attainment and awarding of degrees between Black trainee pharmacists and their White counterparts.

The group, led by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), also involves the British Pharmaceutical Students' Association (BPSA), the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), NHS England (NHSE), Pharmacy Schools’ Council and representatives from university Schools of Pharmacy.

Following its first meeting, student representative organisations will be invited to join the group.

It will meet every quarter, and work through recommendations in a report set to be published by the RPS in November.

‘In pharmacy education, research has shown that Black students and foundation trainees face unique challenges that can lead to lower attainment compared to their White counterparts in the registration assessment and an awarding gap at an undergraduate level,’ the RPS said.

Amandeep Doll, RPS head of engagement and professional belonging said that the issue had been ‘ignored for too long’.

‘Every aspiring pharmacist should have an equal opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential,’ she said.

‘Achieving equity in pharmacy education not only enhances the opportunities for Black students but also contributes to a more diverse and representative workforce, which is crucial for delivering high-quality healthcare to all communities.’

Ms Doll called for changes in curriculum design, teaching practices, assessment methods, and institutional support structures, as well as mentorship programmes and support systems tailored to the needs of Black pharmacy students and trainees.

The group has been established as a result of the Inclusive Pharmacy Practice (IPP) initiative, which involves the RPS and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) as well as 13 other national organisations, and focuses on diversity in pharmacy leadership and representation.