Diversity in the NHS27th August 2020
Diversity, equality and inclusion is vital to the success of any organisation, but it is especially crucial when it comes to our National Health Service.
NHS culture is sustained by a set of core values including respect and dignity, compassion, and inclusion. The latter refers to a commitment to provide respect and significance to all. Given the diversity of the NHS workforce, these values have particular significance.
The NHS has continued its commitment to diversity over the years with various schemes and initiatives; these include the Stepping Up Programme, the Ready now Programme, as well as BLFI (Building Leadership for Inclusion) enterprise. Inspired by this mentality, the UHA created a singular Leadership category at our most recent awards, won in 2020 by Balraj Basra from West London NHS Trust.
One standout initiative is the NHS England Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) staff network, which aims to work in partnership with NHS England to create a safe, inclusive and diverse working space. This encourages respect and equality for all, as well as an environment that values and recognises the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity. Membership and access to this network is open to all NHS England staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans, as well as those with an active interest in driving diversity and inclusion within NHS England as an employer.
Another fantastic example of a successful diversity initiative is that of our 2020 Winner of the Cooperate Services Award– Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group. They have made an outstanding contribution to Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (WUTH) in the last twelve months, pushing the diversity agenda forward under manager Sharon Landrum’s excellent leadership.
As well as driving specific schemes and networks within the NHS, there are many hugely dedicated individuals that look to inspire change and drive the agenda forward within specific trusts and functions.
After joining the London Ambulance Service in 2001, Jules Lockett has gone on to work within the Senior Management Team within Control Services. She now co-chairs the London Ambulance Service LGBT Committee, remaining committed to raising the profile of the LGBT community within the organisation while paying particular interest to the mental wellbeing of staff.
Diversity in the NHS is inevitably an ongoing progress – there is always more opportunity to drive equality and inclusion while upholding initiatives and schemes for the long term. Our board member Habib Naqvi, Interim Director for NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard, shares his thoughts on how diversity in the NHS can be further improved:
“Cultural transformation is critical, so that supported and engaged staff can thrive and are better able to provide the compassionate, high-quality care that patients need and deserve….Inequalities need to be addressed, not just by words, but by deeds and actions.”
As we continue to improve attitudes and practices on a UK-wide scale, each and every one of us has an important role to play. The National Health Service, and those who use it, have the opportunity to create space and drive the diversity conversation forward. By working collectively, we can change things for the better.
Written by Sarah Catherine Jones | Creative Content Assistant