COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Home  »   AbilityLatest News   »   Ability Newsletter – December 2022

Ability Newsletter – December 2022

In this December update, read about reasonable adjustments and the support available to those who need certain adjustments. Also read about 'Intersection', our newsletter that brings together news from all four PDA EDI Networks, along with tackling bullying in the workplace.

Fri 16th December 2022 The PDA

In this issue:
  • Reasonable adjustments, know your rights
  • Introducing Intersection
  • Medicines to Ukraine
  • Bullying and harassment in the workplace
  • PDA represented at STUC Disabled Workers Conference
  • Boots introduce workplace support passports
  • Get involved
  • Getting in touch
  • In case you missed it

Reasonable adjustments, know your rights

By PDA Ability Network members
The PDA Ability Network is aware of the complexities which make understanding and accessing reasonable adjustments far from straightforward. The network has highlighted some key information and sources of support that so many network members have utilised themselves.

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers must make reasonable adjustments for employees and workers.

What are reasonable adjustments?

ACAS defines reasonable adjustments as “changes an employer makes to remove or reduce a disadvantage related to someone’s disability.” This could be by making changes to the physical workplace, e.g., through the provision of additional equipment, or by changing working hours. As reasonable adjustments relate directly to someone’s disability, it is important to understand what disability is. Under the Equality Act 2010, you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment or a condition, either visible or hidden, that has a substantial and long-term (12 months or longer) impact on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Introducing Intersection

The PDA has four Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Networks. In January 2020, the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP) started its 115th year of enabling all women pharmacists to realise their full potential and raise their profile by being educationally, socially, and politically active. In the same month, NAWP joined the PDA and became our first EDI Network. In April 2020, we launched three further networks. These are the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Pharmacists Network (the BAME Network), the Disabled Pharmacists Network (the Ability Network), and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pharmacists Network (the LGBT+ Network).

Intersection is the PDA’s newsletter bringing together news from all four EDI Networks and aims to address intersectional issues. Intersectionality is where there is an overlapping of identities that combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. An intersectional approach considers factors that affect a person in combination, rather than considering each factor in isolation. For example, a disabled woman has two different protected characteristics, but rather than viewing their sex and disability separately, a holistic view would examine the challenges faced by this person as a whole.

The Ability Network would like to thank Ellie Simpson for sharing her experiences in the latest edition of Intersection.


Medicines to Ukraine

In response to the calls from Ukrainian hospitals for help and specialist medicines, the PDA has been working with various continental pharmacist union partners to launch the ‘Medicines to Ukraine’ campaign. The respective member unions are working together to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine and utilise the expert knowledge possessed by pharmacists to help in crisis situations.


Bullying and harassment in the workplace

By Clare Hirst, PDA Organiser

With the disability charity Scope previously identifying that over 50% of disabled people have experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace due to their impairment, the Ability Network would like to highlight the recent PDA workshop on bullying in the workplace, and the toolkit created by the PDA which includes a factsheet and incident diary.

During the ‘It’s Time to Tackle Bullying in the Workplace’ event, PDA members and reps talked with PDA staff about the steps members should take when they are being bullied at work. They discussed how the PDA can provide guidance and support as well as addressing the importance of keeping a record of concerning incidents and talking to the PDA at an early stage. Being bullied can be isolating, and the session also offered the opportunity for members to connect over their experiences and offer each other support.

The event only served to highlight how issues that individual pharmacists face are being experienced by so many others within the profession. The PDA encourages all members to download and share this new factsheet, and to start conversations with colleagues and friends about their experiences and the importance of tackling bullying in the workplace.


PDA represented at STUC Disabled Workers Conference

By Paul Flynn, PDA National Officer for Scotland
Maurice Hickey, PDA Head of Policy in Scotland and a member of the PDA Ability Network, attended the STUC Disabled Workers Conference in Clydebank’s Golden Jubilee hotel on 19 and 20 November. They represented the PDA at our first-ever conference organised by the STUC Disabled workers committee which was founded in 2004.

With the 2019 Disability Price Tag report from Scope, a charity that work toward disability equality, showing that on average the cost of living was already £600 a month more expensive for disabled people, a key topic was the cost-of-living crisis.

              Paul Flynn                          ‘The year of the disabled worker’ conference heard details of
the staggering impact the cost-of-living crisis was having
on disabled workers.

Roz Foyer, STUC general secretary, said, “Disabled workers face a damning 17.2 percent disability pay gap, earning £3,731 a year less than non-disabled people. Our movement cannot stand idly by whilst disabled workers have become an afterthought during this humanitarian crisis.”

Maurice voted on motions presented by many of the 28 trade unions represented under the STUC umbrella. The motions aimed at setting the agenda for the STUC disabled workers committee to take to the wider STUC general council to improve the working lives of disabled workers throughout the broad sectors of employment.

If you would be interested in being involved in next year’s Disabled Workers Conference and work in Scotland, then please email

Boots introduce workplace support passports

In September 2022, the PDA Ability Network welcomed the news that Boots had introduced a tool that facilitates communication between line managers and employees about their disabilities or caring responsibilities and the ways the employer can support them.

A workplace support passport is a live record of adjustments that have been agreed upon between an individual and their line manager. As it’s a ‘passport’, if the line manager changes or the individual changes job location, the records, and requirements within it travel with the employee. PDA Ability Network members know the frustration of having to repeat disclosures and justify their circumstances each time they have a new line manager so, we would encourage all employers to adopt a ‘passport’ system.

We advise all members to check with their line manager or HR department to find out if they have access to a workplace passport scheme and encourage them to highlight the Boots scheme and ask for a similar process if they do not.

Get involved

The PDA Ability Network is going from strength to strength with more members, regular meetings, and upcoming projects such as a ‘Reasonable Adjustment’ factsheet. Membership is open to all UK pharmacists, former pharmacists, students, and trainees. Pharmacists do not need to identify as having a disability to join the network, we welcome allies who will support equality and fairness for disabled pharmacists. Learn more about the network and join below!


Getting in touch

If you are a pharmacist and PDA member working with a disability and feel that you have experienced discrimination at work or whilst studying, then please contact the PDA as soon as possible for advice and support. There are processes and timelines for dealing with such matters and it is important to get early advice and guidance.

Telephone: 0121 694 7000


Follow the Ability Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAability.

Please also feel free to share this mailing with a colleague that would like to read it.

In case you missed it

Below are recently published PDA news items relating to the Ability Network.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)