It is vital that we continue our work to make our organisation fairer, more transparent and more inclusive, particularly in respect of race.
The evidence is clear: NHS staff members from ethnic minorities have worse experiences of the workplace than their White colleagues, and are more likely to face barriers as they move forward in their careers.
We can and we must do better.
Here at LNWH, we have made real progress over the last ten months. At our most senior levels, we have gained greater diversity of perspective on our Board, with the appointment of our three Associate Non-Executive Directors.
New requirements for our recruitment panels have made our hiring processes fairer, and we now hold better information about recruiting managers’ decisions.
New leadership development programmes focus on supporting our people from ethnic minority groups in progressing their careers, while reverse mentoring allows our leaders to understand more about the experiences and points of view of frontline staff.
And ongoing conversations with our colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds are helping us be more alive to the issues they experience every day, and take action to improve them.
But we cannot afford to stop here.
Building an inclusive strategy
Over recent weeks, we have been holding focus groups about what our new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy should look like.
These early conversations have involved colleagues from across LNWH, from all our professions, sites and bands, as well as representatives from our equality networks.
Our strategy will be an inclusive one, encompassing different kinds of diversity, but given the extent of ethnic diversity within our Trust, race has naturally been a key part of these discussions.
These conversations have been rich and varied. Themes have ranged from how we build leadership that reflects the communities that we serve, to how we should best recognise the value and contribution of each of you as individuals.
Reaching our goals
Perhaps most importantly, there have been pragmatic ideas about exactly how we can reach these goals. Building an effective allyship programme, developing working environments that can be adapted for each individual, and ongoing impact assessments are just a few of the ways our groups have suggested we could make a practical difference.
We want your experiences and voices to inform our strategy, and are now ready to open our workshops up to any staff member who wants to take part. We hope that many of you will join us for our next sessions.
This strategy will join a number of important projects that are designed to make LNWH work better for you.
We won't look away
Our Independent Staff Insight Group will explore Board-level decisions with a diverse lens. New transformation fellows will help empower their colleagues to make real change locally. Live well, work well is placing your wellbeing at the heart of our working environment. It is my deep hope that, by understanding and respecting your experience, we can make a meaningful difference to your happiness.
Many of you have observed that recognising and addressing issues related to race is an inextricable part of that agenda. Today, I promise you that we will not look away now. We are committed to continuing these conversations, and to pushing for practical change.