Sheena’s blog: Turning conversation into lasting and positive change

16 June 2020

Sheena’s blog: Turning conversation into lasting and positive change

The last few months have been an unsettling and difficult time for us all so I would firstly like to extend my thanks and utmost respect and gratitude to all our staff.

You have shown unbelievable courage and adaptability to the unprecedented challenges faced and it has been wonderful to see examples of outstanding care, compassion and commitment.

Commitment especially to ensure that everything we do continues to be person-centred and that the health and wellbeing, of the people who access our services, remains a top priority.

However, it is with deep sadness that I see the racial health inequalities that COVID-19 is disproportionately having on our black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues, service users and their families.

I am passionate to ensure continued work takes place to tackle the underlying causes of health and care inequality but also, as recently highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement, systematic inequality. Tackling these injustices are taken very seriously at CWP.

So what are we doing: 

  • We encourage any member of staff concerned about the impact of COVID-19 to speak to their line manager or any Freedom to Speak Up Ambassador. 
  • Our approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) includes a number of successful network groups, including a BAME+ network, co-ordinated by our patient and carer experience team. If you would like to be involved in any of our networks please contact p.makin@nhs.net
  • We have submitted an executive nomination to sit at regional level and advise on NHS matters of concern to BAME staff and communities, including the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. If successful in our application, we will communicate how staff can submit comments and ideas to be represented in this forum. 
  • Our Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) shows some important progress on core areas, however we have more to do. Now that our BAME+ network has been established and is gaining more members I see this as another crucial way for people to have their voice and for us to listen to how we can improve things for the people we serve. 
  • The NHS Staff Survey is an important barometer of how it feels to work at an NHS Trust and I am pleased that in the 2019 survey there has been progress at CWP in respect of staff wellbeing, inclusion and a strong “speaking up” culture, but there is always more we can and should do and our local actions plans will help take this work forwards. 
  • We remain committed to delivering personal, fair and diverse services for our local communities – that are accessible to all – and will continue to work with our commissioners to achieve this. 
  • We recognise the value employees and volunteers from all backgrounds bring to their roles and the importance of having teams that reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

I am proud that at CWP we work with people as unique individuals with their own strengths, beliefs, needs, skills and aspirations. We recognise everyone is different so treat people based on who they are and what they need. We take pride in our values and place an emphasis on co-production.

We know that COVID-19 isn’t going away overnight, so finding a ‘new normal’ quickly that future-proofs our services and properly supports our staff – while still providing the best possible care – is vitally important. So too is continuing to take responsibility for inequality, ensuring that conversation turns into action and action makes a lasting and positive difference. I believe it is our individual and collective responsibility to make the necessary positive steps forward.

If you have been affected by anything in this piece or would like to be a part of positive change within CWP please contact cathy.walsh1@nhs.net

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