NHS-led event shines an important spotlight on equality, diversity, and inclusion in the county

21 September 2023

“Would you have the courage to speak up?” was one of the key questions posed at an NHS system-wide staff cultural event led by equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) leads at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The event, which was held at AFC Telford on Thursday 21 September, was a celebration of cultural diversity in the local NHS as well as an opportunity to challenge current processes and culture.

Keynote speakers included Michelle Cox, a registered nurse from Liverpool, who delivered an inspiring speech on her experiences taking the NHS to an employment tribunal, as well as Sal Hampson and Sue Gorbing from Safe Ageing No Discrimination (SAND), a local community interest company, campaigning for the rights of older and old LGBT+ people.

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.”

Sue Gorbing and Sal Hampson, from SAND, 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 a fantastic to have the opportunity to speak to our partners across the NHS and we hope that our messages about issues experienced by older and old LGBT+ people resonate and lead to meaningful change.”

Simon Whitehouse, Chief Executive of NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “Sadly, there are countless examples that show inequality, racism and discrimination are still experienced by minorities. As an Integrated Care System, we forcefully reject all forms of racism and discrimination and are committed to protecting and promoting equality and increasing awareness of bias and injustice.

“Although an event like this will not provide the answer, we know that these occasions are important steps towards reducing inequalities, creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness in our workplaces, and cultivating meaningful change. It is also about recognising that we all have a role to play in addressing these inequalities.

“As health leaders across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, we collectively pledge consistent attention and tangible actions and to continue to have these difficult conversations to tackle all deep-rooted systemic inequality and to build a culture of inclusiveness for our staff.

“I would like to thank our keynote speakers for sharing their inspirational insight and for their courage and tenacity in standing up and speaking out. The event has been a fantastic opportunity to hear from our colleagues but to also celebrate our differences and how we can come together to improve healthcare for all in the county.”

Page last updated 21 September 2023