We’re backing the BPSA Accessibility for All campaign

Pharmacist Support is championing the BPSA Accessibility for All campaign to ensure pharmacy students have the information and support they need to be able to access education.

Pharmacist Support is proud to partner year on year with the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA), and support them with various student activities. This March, we’re backing their Accessibility for All campaign. As the profession’s charity, we believe that having a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to going to university to study pharmacy or enter the pharmacy profession. Equally, as a charity it’s important to us that we understand our pharmacy family’s needs, and ensure our support is accessible to everyone. Encouraging conversations such as the ones stimulated through this campaign helps us on our journey to inclusivity.

Reasonable adjustments whilst at university

According to UCAS, 60,000 students living with physical and/or mental health conditions and learning differences apply to study at university or college in the UK every year. Universities are required to make suitable provisions for students with a disability or learning difficulty to make sure everyone can access the same education. This is called ‘making reasonable adjustments’ and can include providing accommodation adapted to the needs of the student, accessible rooms and venues, professional care staff, equipment or aids, such as BSL interpreters, scribes or specialist computer equipment, and lecture notes in advance. If you have a disability, the UCAS guide will help make sure you have all the support you need for your course. You can also request reasonable adjustments for your exams.

Anyone can ask for adjustments if they need them. However, to have legal rights to reasonable adjustments, you will need to be defined as ‘disabled’ under the Equality Act 2010. This usually means how your condition affects you, not what your condition is. If you are living with a disability and are at university, speak to your course tutor or student support services who will be able to put you in touch with the university disability advisor.

For further support, you can reach out to Disability Rights UK. The helpline supports disabled students, apprentices, parents and carers and professionals supporting disabled students aged over 16 in England.

Financial and practical support

If you’re at university and your disability affects your ability to study, you can apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). This financial support can go towards things such as sign language interpreters, specialist mentors, specialist equipment or assistive technology, and disability-related costs travelling to and from university. DSA is provided in addition to other student finance, you won’t have to pay it back and it doesn’t affect your other benefits. Find out more about DSA here.

Pharmacist Support may also be able to help you if you’re struggling financially. In the past, we’ve provided equipment such as disability aids through our Financial Assistance service. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat through your circumstances with the team and see if you’re eligible for support.

Other ways Pharmacist Support can help

We are committed to supporting students across our pharmacy family. If your disability is affecting your mental health and wellbeing, please reach out to us to chat through the types of support we can offer. Wellbeing and mental health help can include emotional support, counselling, support groups, coaching and many other things. It may be focused on your work as a pharmacist, your personal life, or a mix. Some support is tailored for health professionals and other support is more general. You don’t have to cope alone.

Destigmatising Disability in the Workplace

Join Anita Cawley, pharmacist, Pharmacist Support Trustee and Chief Governance Officer at Aptus Clinical for a talk with the BPSA. Anita will share her journey as a pharmacist living with cerebral palsy, and how she overcame barriers to her disability to advance in her career. This online talk will also feature student and trainee pharmacist panellists, and Head of Professional Belonging at the RPS, Amandeep Doll, and take place on Wednesday 15th March, 7.30-8.30pm. The talk is free for anyone to attend, all you need to do is register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tFV9R8tuS6aosi_hZ2HBhA

Disability at work and university

Take a look at some further support for students, trainees and pharmacists living with disability

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