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NAWP Newsletter – May 2022

Welcome to the latest issue of the NAWP newsletter - the quarterly mailing that keeps you up-to-date on news, events and issues that relate to women in pharmacy.

Tue 17th May 2022 The PDA

Welcome to the NAWP May 2022 Newsletter

In this issue:

  • Introducing the UK Menopause Taskforce
  • Starting a family shouldn’t be taboo
  • Battling eating disorders – Molly Smith’s story
  • In case you missed it…
  • Follow the NAWP Network on social media

Introducing the UK Menopause Taskforce 

By Naina Chotai, President of the PDA NAWP Network

NAWP welcomes the formation of the UK Menopause Taskforce to work together in support of menopause and women’s health.

The task force co-chaired by APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) Chair Carolyn Harris MP and Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield, held its inaugural meeting on 3 February 2022.

The task force is charged with helping women across the UK to benefit from improved menopause support and care. It will tackle issues surrounding the menopause including increasing access to treatment and ending the taboos and stigmas that still surround conversations about the menopause, especially in the workplace.

The impact of menopause in the pharmacy workplace with a majority women workforce has been cited in a factsheet developed by NAWP.

Naina Chotai, President of the PDA NAWP Network, said “We are always keen to raise awareness, educate, and empower women to openly discuss women’s health including menopause and its symptoms, and to access the help they need.”

The UK Menopause Taskforce’s first meeting was at a time when MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) also had launched a public consultation on making the first local HRT Product (Gina 10mcg Vaginal tablet) available without need for a prescription from pharmacies. This consultation marked an important step towards access to menopause treatment for sale over the counter to women aged 50 years and above who have not had a period for at least one year.

The formation of the UK Menopause Taskforce comes ahead of publication of the first government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England to tackle the gender health gap. NAWP responded to the call for evidence last year on the Women’s Health Strategy, focussing on the need for high-quality information and support, recognition of the causes of health inequalities, and the significant role of employers in supporting women in the workplace and reducing the stigma around women’s health-related issues.

Learn more

Starting a family shouldn’t be taboo

By Roz Gittins, Director of Pharmacy, Humankind 

Whilst recruiting, managing, mentoring and coaching pharmacy professionals, I’ve been really struck by a recurring theme; women are worried about applying for new roles or opportunities because they’re thinking about starting a family.

They report shying away, even before trying to become pregnant, worried “they’d be letting people down” or how they’d be perceived “going off” on maternity leave. How will they manage the travel, childcare costs and logistics whilst taking on more responsibility and what if they choose to reduce their hours? Although predominantly affecting women, this isn’t a women’s-only issue; it affects other genders too, equally applying to people who choose to adopt and take parental leave for example.

Often these anxieties can be reduced by having a proactive conversation with their employer. Indeed, managers need to be doing more to enable ‘safe spaces’ to support having open conversations. Coaches, mentors, and peers have a role to play in supporting individuals to articulate their concerns too. Sometimes it may require some creative thinking, but with planning, hours can often be flexed, and workloads can be managed: nothing is insurmountable.

Learn more

  • The PDA’s ‘Discrimination and the pregnant employee’ guide can be found here.
  • NCT’s flexible working hours for parents guide can be found here.

Battling eating disorders – Molly Smith’s story

By Ayah Abbass, NAWP Network Committee Member and Community/GP Pharmacist

Approximately 700,000 people in the UK have an eating disorder, 90% of whom are female.

The UK’s Eating Disorder Charity, Beat, carried out a survey which found that 69% of people with an eating disorder felt that their GP did not know how to help them.

I wondered how pharmacists would measure up against this figure and I wanted to learn more about the impact on patients’ lives, so I reached out to Molly Smith, who I had heard talking about recovering from anorexia on Stacey Dooley’s podcast: Fresh Starts.

Molly said, “As I grew into my teenage years, more and more things became out of my control. I started to lower my food intake as a way of coping. I would restrict my food intake and each week I had lost a little more weight. After a few weeks, I was referred to CAMHS as an emergency patient. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.”

Slowly and with a lot of support, Molly started to recover. She then started university in September 2021 and recorded the podcast with Stacey Dooley. Molly said, “I am so thankful for the treatment and support I received from my family and the NHS. My best advice to anybody working in the healthcare profession is to always listen to the patient. Appearance-wise, anorexia affects the way you look so much further than just the weight. Perfectionist personalities are also common for those with an eating disorder. Other physical signs include hair loss, loss of periods, low heart rate, constipation, fainting, excessive sleeping, obsessively exercising, abusing laxatives or diet pills.”

I want to dedicate this article to Molly Smith for sharing her story to help increase awareness. I hope this article will encourage pharmacists to learn more about eating disorders and create a safe space for pharmacists to talk about their battles with eating disorders.

Beat acknowledges the important role of pharmacists in recognising and referring patients for specialist care around eating disorders. They have produced a leaflet with advice and support which you can download here.

Learn more

In case you missed it…

  • The PDA’s Equal Pay Toolkit with The Equality Trust can be found here.
  • For International Women’s Day this year, NAWP launched a factsheet to raise awareness of Endometriosis. March also marked Endometriosis Awareness Month. To view the factsheet, please click here.
  • Also for International Women’s Day, NAWP hosted an online event to #BreakTheBias and promote a gender-equal pharmacy workplace. More on the event can be found here.
  • NAWP welcomes Boots’ announcement that it will pay for team members’ HRT prescriptions

Follow the NAWP Network on social media

During Cervical Cancer Screening Awareness Week, NAWP shared various resources and information to encourage, educate and empower members to attend their cervical screening appointments. NAWP updated their Facebook page every day during the week to raise awareness amongst members and are constantly working to discuss issues of relevance to the network. To join the Facebook group, please click here.

Not a fan of Facebook? Use #PDAnawp on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to post on issues relevant to women pharmacists and to suggest recommended reading for allies of the network.

NAWP has previously produced factsheets around ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and the menopauseIf you have ideas about what areas of women’s health NAWP could address next, please email










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