Black Country and West Birmingham

A Shared Decision-Making Council for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff at Walsall Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Events this year prompted Joan Dyer, Matron for the Surgical Division  at Walsall Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to set up a hared decision making council for all black, asian and minority ethnic colleagues within the trust, to ensure that all colleagues felt empowered to speak up on issues that mattered to them.


Q: What prompted you to set up the Shared Decision-Making Council in your trust?

A: The Black Lives Matter movement over the summer was a catalyst for change and also led me to reflect on wider issues my colleagues from BAME backgrounds felt were important.


Q: What were the next steps that you took?

A: I realised we needed to establish a group that would represent the views of our BAME colleagues. I spoke to our Vice Chair on our leadership team and he was incredibly supportive, and we launched the Black Asian Minority Ethnic Shared Decision-Making Council within the Trust. Our members are from across all staff groups, clinical and non-clinical staff. I was nominated as the Chair of the group.


Q: What sorts of issues did you address within the Council?

A: We have around 24 council members. I spoke to them to identify what mattered to them the most. We received feedback around staff development opportunities and how some of our members needed help with their training and development to support their aspirations in progressing their careers. As a result, we have set up mentoring schemes with senior members of the trust and run coaching sessions on how to approach interviews.

There was some nervousness from our BAME colleagues around being re-deployed throughout the Covid pandemic, therefore  with the support of HR we developed a risk assessment process which meant that any of our members would be able to inform  their managers  of any long term health conditions which would put them at greater risk to Covid. We have also received some support from the Royal College of Nursing who carried out some culture ambassador training.


Q: Does the Council have senior level sponsorship?

A: Yes, it has been very well received by both the non-Executive Board and the Trust Board. They are all really pleased with what we are doing and the issues we are tackling. We hold a council meeting every month and report these findings into both Boards.