We are immensely proud of the phenomenal contribution made every day by our Black, Asian and
Minority Ethnic (BAME) nurses and midwives throughout the Midlands.
Nurses and midwives form the largest collective professional group within the NHS. One in every five are from BAME backgrounds, rising to much higher levels (up to 40 per cent) in some regions and parts of the country. Yet, very often, the opportunities and experiences that BAME nurses and midwives
Addressing the impact of Covid on BAME staff in the NHS (and BAME staff in general) receive do not always correspond to the values upon which the NHS proudly stands. We know the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) indicators have fully evidenced the historical inequalities for BAME nurses and midwives in their opportunities for career progression and their experiences within the workplace.
As NHS employees we all have a responsibility to challenge this.
Addressing the impact of Covid on BAME staff in the NHS
NHS England and NHS Improvement: It is increasingly clear that Covid is having a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and minority Ethnic (BAME) patients, friends and colleagues. And this
in turn has brought into stark and urgent focus the layered impacts of years of disadvantage and inequality.
In response the NHS is taking six actions:
Protection of staff
The NHS Employers guidance and framework for NHS organisations helps to mitigate staff risk of
Covid, including taking ethnicity and age into account.
Engagement with staff and staff networks
These will enable decision makers to hear and learn from people’s lived experience as well as BAME,
faith and other staff networks and groups
Representation in decision making
This will ensure BAME colleagues have influence over decisions that will affect them
Rehabilitation and recovery
Wellbeing support includes a bespoke offer for BAME colleagues
Supporting our people
There are a number of helplines and guide to help all staff manage their own health and wellbeing
Communications and media
The NHS at national, regional and local level is working hard to make sure staff diversity is represented
in all things we do.
Supporting and enabling long term change during 2020 and beyond in the Midlands
NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to address racial equality
through six key areas.
In the Midlands we have engaged with our BAME nurses and midwives through several collaborative listening events. During these events, nurses and midwives raised concerns regarding their health, wellbeing, protection and safety.
BAME nurses and midwives want to see themselves reflected in all leadership levels, want the opportunity to be sat at the table where strategic decisions are made and need to feel safe to speak out when they have concerns about their safety and that of our patients.
The themes from these events have influenced national policy, contributed to the national priorities for BAME nurses and midwives and will shape our regional approach.
In December 2020, the Midlands region established a Chief Nursing Officer BAME Delivery Group, with representation from key stakeholders including all Midlands systems and is chaired by Jennifer Pearson, Lead Nurse for Shared Governance at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust and the Regional lead for the National CNO BAME Strategic Advisory Group.
The group were instrumental in the listening events for staff mentioned above.
Our delivery group will act as an expert group of nursing and midwifery stakeholders and will work to develop and deliver regional actions in response to the national CNO BAME Action Plan heavily informed by the CNO BAME SAG, the NHS Long Term Plan and the NHS People Plan.
Our regional action plan focuses on staff protection, engagement with staff and staff networks, representation in decision-making (including leadership development), rehabilitation and recovery, and communications and media.
A message from Jennifer Pearson, chair of the CNO BAME Regional Delivery Group:
“I am really honoured and delighted to be asked to chair the CNO BAME
regional delivery group.
“We want NHS staff to feel a high level of support, a sense of belonging, to be treated with fairness and make sure their contributions are valued.
“This group will ask different questions, uncomfortable questions, and will support and encourage leaders across all the systems to be more curious and open to thinking differently about the experience they are having, compared to those experiences BAME staff and patients are having and ask themselves why.
“We want leaders to amplify those unheard voices and work with this group to make tangible differences, and take action.
“It’s the right thing to do, it’s what staff need to see and hear now. It’s what patients deserve in order to close the health inequality gaps.
“The moment is now!”