Health and care staff across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin coming together to celebrate cultural diversity at Equality, Diversity and Inclusion event
In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin we are committed to creating an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming culture for our staff and patients. This will be achieved by continuing to learn from the experience of our workforce, listening to the voices of marginalised groups, and developing our plans to improve equality, diversity and inclusion.
On Thursday 21 September, organisations from across the Integrated Care System (ICS) joined together to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion and pave the way for a brighter future.
The event was held at Telford Football Ground with 115 people registering their attendance. The day was filled with guest speakers from across the Integrated Care System and beyond, a delicious Caribbean lunch, the opportunity to network with like-minded people and enjoy live performances including African Drumming performed by Kalillo Drumming and a Ukrainian singer and dancer from Shropshire Supports Refugees.
We were also joined by guest speaker Michelle Cox, Registered Nurse and Head of Equality and Diversity, who has been successful in carving the path for a more inclusive and diverse future for the NHS and its workforce after winning a tribunal case against the NHS for race discrimination, harassment, victimisation and whistleblowing. Michelle’s words were enlightening and inspirational to help us all strive towards a better NHS. She expressed how we need to listen to our staff and anti-racism training should be mandatory.
Talking at the event, Michelle Cox said: “Discrimination is bad for business - reputationally, financially, morally. An event like this is so important because it shines a spotlight on the culture of an organisation and helps it to move towards being an anti-racist organisation.
“I hope that by sharing my experiences of discrimination, it will help people gain a better understanding of what it means to discriminate and be discriminated against. How institutional racism can translate through policies, processes, and practices, which sees preferential treatment given to one group of people over another.”
We were also joined by guest speakers Sue Gorbing and Sal Hampson, who are Chair and Director of Safe Ageing No Discrimination (SAND), a local community interest company, campaigning for the rights of older and old LGBT+ people in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. We heard the sobering stories of how a whole generation of people are scared to come forward for healthcare needs due to being mistreated because of their sexual orientation.
Sue and Sal said: “Attending events like this gives us all a better understanding of how lives have been lived differently, and how we can all work together to respect people, afford them dignity and understand more about how individuals would like to be treated.
“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to speak to our partners across the ICS and we hope that our messages about issues experienced by older and old LGBT+ people resonate and lead to meaningful change.”
From NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, we heard from Dr Priya George, Clinical Lead for EDI and Alison Bussey, Chief Nursing Officer and Executive Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, as well as from Helen Turner, Freedom to Speak Up Lead, and Rhia Boyode, Director of People and Organisational Development, from The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals. They discussed equality, rural racism, our local vision and action plan and the challenges we face within Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.
As we reflect on this inspiring gathering, we are reminded that the journey toward equality, diversity, and inclusion is ongoing. However, the determination and enthusiasm displayed at this event is the start to tackling issues often faced daily by our staff and patients. As an Integrated Care System, we shall continue to progress towards a health and care system where everyone feels seen, heard, and respected.