Celebrating staff and making the NHS an even better place to work

After the most challenging year the NHS has ever encountered, inclusion and diversity will be high on the agenda at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust during a weeklong celebration of the unique approach and outlook each staff member brings to the healthcare of the region.

Monday 10 May sees the beginning of People Engagement Week – a packed schedule of events highlighting the different groups that make up the Trust family and learning from staff about how to make the NHS an even better employer.

Levi Buckley, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust chief operating officer with a rainbow badge

Throughout the week, staff will be invited to take part in a series of online-hosted discussion forums on a variety of themes including leadership, health and wellbeing and flexible working. The sessions will encourage feedback from staff to influence policy and to ensure any future changes to working schedules or practices reflect staff views.

Trust chief executive Julie Gillon launched the People Engagement Week with an online presentation that covered an overview of the national NHS People Plan and how it challenges all staff to make the NHS a better place to work, the importance of listening and how staff adapted to the rapid changes to practices brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The celebration of staff continues on Thursday 13 May, when the Trust marks Eid ul-Fitr with the Tees Restaurant at the University Hospital of North Tees offering a special menu of curries to mark the ending of the fasting period.

Also on Thursday, staff will be invited to make a pledge to be an ally to LGBTQ+ colleagues and patients. All pledges will be offered a specially designed NHS badge with the LGBTQ+ rainbow proudly adorned on it.

Levi Buckley, Trust chief operating officer, said: “Eid Mubarak to all of our Muslim colleagues. We’re looking forward to celebrating the end of fasting with the great curries our kitchen colleagues will be cooking up on Thursday.

“We’re also excited to be offering staff the chance to make a pledge to support our aims of being fully LGBTQ+ friendly, both to staff and patients.

“As recently as 2018, a report by Stonewall showed one in seven LGBTQ+ people had avoided accessing healthcare due to fears of discrimination. This has to end.

“The rainbow badge is a simple way we can show that we are open, non-judgmental and here to help everyone.”

Staff will also be encouraged to join the newly created Staff Networks. The networks, which are open to all staff, seek to ensure that as an employer the Trust is meeting the needs of all groups that make up the skilled body of professionals the public rely on.

The Staff Networks currently consist of:

• LGBTQ+
• BAME
• Ability
• Age – Younger Employees
• Age – Older Employees
• Women’s Network
• Men’s Network
• Multi-faith Network

Levi commented: “Staff are encouraged to attend our network meetings according to their individual characteristics, as well as those staff who wish to be allies for their colleagues and support change within the Trust. The networks will be constantly feeding back the views and experiences of the members to create positive, lasting change in the Trust.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust prides itself on listening to its staff, making positive changes and aims to be the best NHS employer in the country. The 2020 national NHS staff survey ranked the Trust as the 16th best in the UK, and second best in the north east, for staff satisfaction – an accolade the Trust is determined to build upon by making sure all staff have a voice and play a part in the future delivery of first rate health care services to the region.

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