The Equality and Diversity Council at NHS England works to ensure everyone’s contribution to our health service is fairly recognised. In the first of two blogs, Joe O’Grady reports on the Council’s work and outlines what steps we can all take to ensure fair treatment for NHS patients and staff:
My first experience of attending the National Equality & Diversity Council was in January, so I was keen to see how it worked and get involved in the discussion and interaction.
I was also keen to network and see what initiatives are being planned.
The meeting covered a very full agenda and I felt that the Co-Chairs wanted to help the NHS to keep moving towards making improvements and reducing the many inequalities and inconsistencies that face a modern NHS built upon such strong and inclusive values.
As a guest attendee who works in the E&D field, as well as chairing the north-west NHS E&D Leads Regional Forum, I was relieved to learn the Council is focusing on three key work streams that are crucial to moving the E&D agenda forward.
The first is Supporting System Architecture. This looked specifically at EDS2 and the refresh which may be undertaken around July 2018. A comprehensive presentation on staff experience and patient experience/satisfaction followed with some thought provoking points around the interrelation of positive staff experiences and patient quality.
The second is Enabling Leadership Capacity and Capability. This provided an update on the ongoing programme to develop an inclusive leadership culture within the NHS and the need to link with BME Staff Networks. This was followed by an excellent update on the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) in particular the future and the upcoming 70th Year Anniversary Celebration of the NHS and Windrush.
The third work stream, Embedding Levers and Accountability, focused on this work group and the challenges ahead, the need for collaboration between national lead bodies was stressed. There was a lot of attention on the upcoming Workforce Disability Equality Standard and the roll out of WDES workshops that will be facilitated in varied regions in the upcoming months.
Although I found all the areas discussed very important, the particular highlight for me was the inspiring presentation – Building Inclusive Leadership @ Barts Health – which was delivered by Banji Adewumi and her HR Director Michael Pantlin. It was so reassuring to see excellent practice in action being acknowledged. Having been on the NHS Employers D&I Partners Programme with Banji, it does not surprise me how her Trust is progressing.
I got to network with some of the members and came away with at least one collaboration option to follow up with the Royal College of Nursing. This is on BME leadership in the north-west.
I am thankful to Dr Habib Naqvi for inviting me as part of an initiative to invite regional E&D Forum Leads to attend the Council and hope to be welcomed again at a later date, once my regional peers have attended on behalf of their respective areas, in 2018.