AS NHS organisations across the region come together to make a collective promise to ethnic minority colleagues, a health trust is sharing one of its own initiatives.
As it marks Black History Month, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has joined forces with neighbouring trusts in signing a promise aimed at ensuring fairness for all black, Asian and minority (BAME) groups.
The promise aims to ensure fairness for all and embed a culture where people can thrive no matter what their race, background or personal experience.
The leaders are committed to ensuring that no one person’s experience is influenced by prejudice – either as a staff member or patient accessing health and care services.
As part of the Trust’s commitment, a new BAME staff network group was launched earlier this year aimed at supporting members in their working lives and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.
Michael Chivhunga, clinical team leader and senior occupational therapist, is a member of the new group.
He said: “This group is there to provide a safe environment to raise issues and share experiences.
“It is also there to help signpost and support people, offer information and guidance and contribute to staff development and awareness activities.
“It’s a fantastic idea and one which we hope many BAME staff will benefit from. It represents the organisation’s clear commitment to continuing it support of ethnic minority groups.”
The collective promise includes projects to increase diversity in the workforce, introducing new training for all staff to raise awareness of BAME issues, dedicated BAME leadership programmes, a zero tolerance for bullying and harassment as well as other BAME community and staff engagement initiatives.
Yvonne Ormston MBE, Chief Executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and regional BAME lead said “Black History Month has given us all an opportunity to celebrate our diverse staff groups and learn something about the different cultures that contribute to our success.
“As employers and leaders of important local organisations we’ve come together to make this promise which not only celebrates the contribution that our BAME staff and communities make to the region, but also marks a promise to them about our collective way of working.
“We recognise that there have been additional pressures placed on our BAME colleagues both as a result of the adverse effect of Covid19 and because of recent international events that have placed a focus on inequalities for these communities. We are proud that our all our staff have been able to continue to provide the best service despite these pressures.
“However as leaders it’s also important that we make sure staff are aware that our organisations do not accept discrimination of any kind towards our BAME colleagues or patients and that we will act to address any instances of discrimination.”