We focus on the wellbeing of every one of our people aim to create an environment where you to have the confidence to be you, knowing that you’ll be treated fairly and will have equal opportunity to develop and grow your career. By promoting equality of opportunity, we’re building a culture and a community that actively celebrates and practices dignity, respect and inclusion towards patients and colleagues alike. This is supported by a number of groups representing and supporting different staff groups. We’ll continue to look ahead and to celebrate the diverse insights, perspectives and ideas that bring benefits for everyone: staff, patients and the Trusts as a whole.
Most recently, we’ve been focusing on delivering the equality and inclusion agenda at board level, reflecting the significant shift in thinking around the importance of taking a cultural approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. That has included the board undertaking a development day to further understand the value of diversity and produce an action plan. We’ll continue to listen to and learn from our colleagues’ lived experiences to help shape a culture that truly embraces diversity and inclusion.
Established in 2018, our Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered (LGBT+) network is a working group that includes patients, service users and colleagues. The network’s focus is to improve the environment for those within the LGBT+ groups. Colleagues can attend regular drop-in sessions to learn more about the LGBT+ support services, working rights and to hear the working experiences of colleagues related to LGBT+ issues.
In 2019, the group launched the NHS Rainbow Badges as part of a commitment to creating an inclusive environment for colleagues and patients. To date, 1,387 colleagues have committed to wearing a badge and to uphold the principles of:
- Providing a positive message of inclusion
- Being a friendly ear for LGBT+ colleagues, patients and service users
- Being aware of the support available to sign post people to
- Creating an environment where people feel safe to be open and honest and be themselves.
This supportive, open forum for all black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff aims to create a workplace where the needs of all BAME people are understood and acted on. Working closely with other representative groups, we report regularly to the equality and inclusion working group. This means we share experiences, highlight issues and put forward ideas and solutions to improve the experience of BAME staff.
We also advise on developments and their likely impact on BAME staff and inform work and patient strategy to ensure the Trust remains a welcoming place for BAME staff. With over 40 members, we hold monthly meetings to explore relevant issues and support the Trust in addressing barriers. So far, we’ve:
- Developed a poster campaign reminding patients, service users and colleagues of the importance of respecting and valuing our people and to stop abuse
- Commissioned hate awareness training by an external provider, starting in autumn 2019, with further sessions agreed for the following two years
- Reviewed national equality and diversity training and supported its implementation, replacing the previous, outdated mandatory training
- Led a campaign to raise awareness of micro aggressions and the impact of these.
Our Lived Experience Disability Group focuses on the introduction of reasonable adjustment passports. These are documented records of adjustments that will remove disadvantages for disabled colleagues at work. We identified these reasonable adjustments after a number of focus groups that listened to the lived experience of colleagues with a disability. They were identified as barriers to moving roles or applying for promotion. By removing these barriers, we aim to increase applications from disabled colleagues. We’re continuing to look ahead and identify further opportunities to make our workplace and culture more accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities.
In our newly formed Women’s Network steering group we’re working on developing terms of reference and work plan. We’re focusing on identifying and implementing practical ways to support women, raising understanding and awareness of the barriers they face, supporting the work to create pay parity, empowering women to develop their careers and challenging bias and current norms.
A small working group has also been exploring the details of the gender pay gap reporting for 2017 – 2018 (reported in March 2019). We initially focused on the gap identified in Clinical Excellence Awards (CEA) and carried out qualitative and quantitative research to understand the barriers facing female consultants in applying for an award. This resulted in a shift in approach for the following two rounds of CEAs. which has seen an increase in the number of female applicants and success.
Now we’re focusing on the glass ceiling identified in the report and carrying out the gender pay gap report for 2018 – 2019 (due to be reported in 2020).
Armed Forces and Veterans
As both a healthcare provider and an employer, we’re dedicated to looking after the Armed Forces Community. We bring this commitment to life by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant and implementing initiatives that are real and meaningful. With two military bases in the county, some of our colleagues are military spouses or partners. We set out to provide the additional support, such as unpaid leave to help with periods of separation, needed by service families.
Our commitment as an ‘armed forces-friendly employer’ has been recognised by a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award. Our armed forces champions work across the Trust to support colleagues from the armed forces community. We do this by engaging with the executive team and Trust board to shape policy, and support colleagues. We also manage a local armed forces network that enables colleagues to socialise and provide mutual support, provides an email bulletin of news and updates, and facilitates an armed forces and breakfast club.