After the most challenging year the NHS has ever encountered, inclusivity and diversity will be high on our agenda. It comes 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.
Celebrating People Engagement Week
Staff will be invited to take part in a series of online-hosted discussion forums on a variety of themes including:
- Health and wellbeing
- Inclusivity and diversity
- 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
- How it challenges all staff to make the NHS a better place to work
- The importance of listening
- How staff adapted to the rapid changes to practices brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic
Celebrating Eid ul-Fitr
The celebration of staff continues on Thursday 13 May, when the Trust marks Eid ul-Fitr. Tees Restaurant at the University Hospital of North Tees is offering a special menu of curries. The menu marks the ending of the fasting period.
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 from our kitchen colleagues on Thursday.”
Pledge to become an LGBTQ+ ally
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.
Julie Gillon: Hello, my name is Julie Gillon and I’m chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool Trust.
I would just like to say that I’m very proud to be committed and for the Trust to be committed to the rainbow badge initiative.
What that’s all about is about the LGBT+ community and lending an ear and an understanding of not only the health and social care inequalities that may be facing the LGBT community but also how we can help in the NHS.
So it may be that those inequalities manifest in the specific needs for health care. What we need to do is to listen and to act on what we hear and to make sure that we act without prejudice and we act with our judgement and we signpost to the correct service.
So we are all very proud to be part of this initiative and I would ask you to be pledged to this commitment going forward.
Levi Buckley: I’m proud to work for a trust that supports me and recognises my identity.
Wearing the badge is a symbol for the rest of our workforce that we take issues of equality and diversity seriously.
I want this to be a compassionate place to work.
Barbara Bright: In wearing this badge, I am dedicated to reducing barriers and inequalities.
The NHS is built on diversity and inclusion. It what it’s what makes it so successful for staff and patients.
Graham Evans: I wear the rainbow badge because it underpins the Trust’s values to treat everyone equally and inclusively, both our patients and our staff. And it’s something I’m proud to wear.
Lindsay Robertson: I wear the rainbow badge because I want to change attitudes towards LGBT people and improve the experiences they receive as both patients and employees.
Deepak Dwarakanath: I pledge to wear the rainbow badge because I value our staff, their diversity and the skills they bring to the organisation.
Alan Sheppard: I wear the rainbow badge because I want to promote the organisation as an inclusive and diverse place to work. I also wear the badge so that people can stop me and raise any concerns that they may have.
Lynn Taylor: Hello, my name is Lynn Taylor and I’m director of planning and performance at North Tees and Hartlepool and I’m very proud to wear the rainbow badge.
As I see it, we come into life equal and we leave life equal and it’s our responsibility to ensure that equality and diversity is threaded throughout our lives.
Title card: We’re proud to wear the Rainbow badge
Levi continued: “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 are open to all staff and seek to develop inclusivity and diversity at our Trust.
They 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:
- 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. They are also open to 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.”
We pride ourselves on listening to our staff, making positive changes and aim 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.