When people come to one of our hospitals to have treatment, it’s really important that they come to a place where their needs are equally met, regardless of ethnicity and culture, ability and disability, and gender. Understanding this and getting it right is a big part of achieving great healthcare from great people. The same is true for staff from these groups who come to work here.
Two years ago, the NHS Workforce Race equality Standard (WRES) was introduced to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace. As a result, the Trust now receives what is effectively a yearly ‘progress report’ on how it’s doing as far as adhering to the standard is concerned.
This week we received the latest report which recognises that our Trust is doing a lot to support staff from these groups but that there is more progress to be made!
I’m really fortunate to be one of several staff members who make up a group which was originally called the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Group. You may remember we held our first BME conference last autumn. It was at this event that the Trust committed to support BME staff to develop a network and for them to dedicate work time to network, as well as allowing provision of secretarial, administrative and financial support. Since then, the BME group has been re-launched and is now known as BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff Network).
We held our inaugural meeting back in February and are now looking for more staff to get involved and join us (it’s not just for people who consider themselves to be from these groups). So if you have a passion for equality and ensuring all staff including black, asian and minority ethnic employees get the support they need, or you want to help influence and shape positive change so that staff from BAME groups have a voice in the Trust – we’d love to hear from you!
Our group will be holding a number of events over the course of the year including celebrating National Day of staff networks on Wednesday 10 May. On the day we’ll be in the hubs between 12 and 2pm and will be joined by other network groups such as the Disability Council. Members of the network group including myself will be on hand to talk about joining the group, some of the proposed work of the group and support for career progression.
I believe that we all have a responsibility to ensure we embrace diversity and inclusion for all staff, regardless of their differences I’d also like to encourage all people managers to support your staff and allow some flexibility in allowing your teams to participate in the activities of the network group should they wish to join us.
Let’s continue to make this a great place to work for everyone, including black, asian and minority ethnic staff.