We are compassionate and inclusive

We have listened to the experiences of those who face exclusion and marginalisation, and we know that there is much more to do. We need the NHS to be a place where all are welcome, with a culture of belonging and trust, celebrating diversity in all its forms. We know discrimination, violence and bullying have no place in the NHS, and yet they exist and thrive in some places.

If we do not role model this culture ourselves, how can our patients expect to be treated equitably, and as individuals?

COVID-19 has intensified social and health inequalities. The evidence suggests that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on:

  • our Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues, families, and friends
  • older people
  • men
  • those with obesity
  • those with a disability or long-term condition.

We want to support you with your ongoing development of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that will create and sustain our culture of compassion and inclusion. Our teams and organisations, particularly the senior leadership of the NHS, should actively reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

Changing healthcare cultures (through collective leadership)

Our purpose is to create compassionate and inclusive cultures in organisations and systems because delivering high quality care depends on creating positive, inclusive work environments where people want to come to work. Our work is all about building a greater sense of belonging, that is felt by all of our people.

Research shows that the most powerful factor influencing culture is leadership. We partnered with the King’s Fund and the Centre for Creative Leadership to develop practical support and resources to help health and care organisations to improve their culture. This work formed the Culture and Leadership Programme, which is a practical approach to help you understand your current culture, and how collective, compassionate and inclusive leadership within your own organisation can help to improve that culture. These resources have now been used in over 30 organisations and independently evaluated, and this learning has been built into revised resources so it can be shared.

The resources and support offered on these pages provides you with the evidence-based tools needed in order to transform your organisation’s culture through collective, compassionate and inclusive leadership.

COVID-19 vaccine information

NHS doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have come forward to help reassure communities that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and have been independently tested to the highest standards.

Clinicians have recorded messages in some of the most commonly spoken languages to help ensure messages about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine reach all communities.

Vaccine information in community languages

Inclusive and compassionate workplace success stories

You may find these useful when thinking about how to improve practices in your workplace.

Further reading

What initiatives can I take forward now?

Workforce assessments: help identify people with potentially increased vulnerability to infection or adverse outcomes from COVID-19.

  • Action: Carry out a risk assessment for vulnerable staff including BAME colleagues and anyone who needs additional support, and take action where needed. You can then expand it to all staff groups.

Continue to Support BAME staff during the recovery phase and post-COVID – health and wellbeing, giving voice and creating positive BAME staff role models – who would be your role model?

Make sure BAME staff are represented at all Agenda for Change bands, including very senior managers and board level.

  • Bereavement resources

We know that our NHS people are likely to experience a bereavement during the pandemic. This could be through losing patients when working in frontline services, as well as experiencing personal bereavements of family members, friends and colleagues who have died during the pandemic. With support from a wide range of organisations, colleagues and staff networks, we have developed a bereavement resource that recognises the diversity of our staff, and, together with a short supporting animation, builds upon existing managerial cultural competencies recognising the diversity of our staff. This resource will enable line managers to be able to confidently start conversations with staff who have experienced loss in a more compassionate way, as a result of gaining a deeper understanding of the different ways in which our colleagues may experience a bereavement, noting the varying practices different religions and cultures may follow.

Help us to help you

Do you have a success story or resource to share? Please contact us and let us know so that we can make it available for everyone.