14 July 2020

Recent events both globally and nationally have shone a light on the shocking disparities that exist across society in terms of race. The NHS, as the biggest employer nationwide, has also come under the spotlight.  

Studies show that ethnic minority NHS colleagues are more likely to experience discrimination. Furthermore, despite constituting a large part of the NHS workforce as a whole, are under-represented at the leadership level. 

The King's Fund has just published the findings of its extensive research into these issues - and describes how some NHS provider organisations are working positively to challenge them. 

The report identifies the East London Foundation Trust to be one of these. 

ELFT is praised for working to make change happen in the following ways: 

- By establishing staff networks, one of which is the BAME network. One purpose of the networks is to act as a forum where staff can identify and discuss barriers to inclusion and discrimination;

-The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, who has set up systems and processes that aim to support staff in being supported around issues of bullying or discrimination;

-The work carried out by the People & Culture team, including ‘the Respect & Dignity @Work campaign. It is praised for its work to embed a trust-wide culture of empathy and understanding. Also, the way the Trust executive liaised with the Joint Staff Committee to extend and develop campaigns such as Through Someone Else's Eyes was singled out as an example of good practice. 

- The People & Culture team’s work in carrying out ‘deep dive’ data analysis. The subsequent identification of racial inequalities that were stopping people from advancing is seen as an important example of promoting inclusion. Inequalities identified were acted upon, with robust interventions designed to create and embed system-wide change.

- The report also highlights the Trust’s work done on career development and progression, which utilises in-house and external leadership talent to support and encourage staff.

-The report notes  that ELFT is taking other ‘numerous actions directed at increasing race diversity in the workforce.’

Reflecting on the findings of the Kings Fund report, Trust CEO Dr. Navina Evans said:

“I am pleased that the King's Fund has identified the hard work that has been going on across the Trust to address issues of race inequality and inclusion.
“But we still have a long way to go.
“I’m encouraged by the amount of staff involved in the current COVID Race & Privilege Sessions that are taking place.  BAME colleagues have been courageous in speaking out about their experiences, and white staff at all levels are listening and learning.
“Only by coming together and having these honest conversations will the barriers to equality be properly  demolished.”