Today is Windrush Day.
It marks the anniversary of the arrival of people from Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago and other islands on the ship MV Empire Windrush. Many of them came to join the fledgling NHS, and dedicated their lives to caring for its patients.
On Windrush Day, we recognise the immense contribution of the generation of people who came to Britain at that time to offer their skills, hard work and generosity of spirit. Their diverse cultures have become a vital part of the rich tapestry of British life. Many of you may be their children or grandchildren.
This is an important day for us to reflect on our responsibilities towards the Windrush generation, their descendants, and our wider Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
In our organisation, it is a matter of fact that our BAME colleagues have a worse experience of the workplace than our white colleagues. And we know that our BAME people are over-represented in disciplinary procedures but under-represented in our senior leadership.
We can and must do better.
And I know words alone are not enough: it’s our actions that matter. We must make practical changes that have a direct impact on how we treat our BAME colleagues.
Working with my Trust Board colleagues and our BAME network, we’re introducing new career development opportunities for our BAME staff and new rules for recruitment and disciplinaries.
Improving our policies and procedures
- equire all our recruitment panels to include at least one person who is from a BAME group
- involve BAME colleagues in our disciplinary processes as Cultural Ambassadors.
Creating new career opportunities
We’re making a range of new leadership and development opportunities for our BAME people.
As well as formal learning opportunities, we’ve created new shadow management roles across a range of professions. These roles will support our aspiring BAME managers to prepare for substantive roles.
Looking to the future
This is only the first step in earning the trust of our BAME communities. I want you to feel able to hold us to account, and to tell us when we get things wrong.
I want to encourage conversations that, until now, have felt too difficult or futile to hold. Your voices are important: we want you to feel confident in speaking up and telling us about your experiences.
And to our white colleagues, I ask for your help. We must all take responsibility for creating a culture of inclusion and respect in the way we speak and behave to one another.
Racial inequality has long roots in our history and society. Uprooting it will not happen overnight.
But by truly listening to our BAME communities, asking ourselves the hard questions, and making concrete changes in the way we work, we can make a difference.
We are all part of TeamLNWH, and we all share our HEART values. I want to thank you all as we start this new work together in the spirit of equality and respect.
Chris Bown, CEO