An open letter to NCH&C staff from Josie Spencer, CEO | Latest news

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An open letter to NCH&C staff from Josie Spencer, CEO

Dear NCH&C colleague,

Like us, we know our staff will have been affected by recent events in America and the UK that have shone a new light on how deep the problem of racial inequality and discrimination continues to be in our society. The aftermath shows us that there is growing anger at the inexcusable injustice of racism. 

Whilst we acknowledge the fact that Norfolk is not as ethnically diverse as other areas in the UK, we believe this is irrelevant. Our response to racism and discrimination is clear: we do not tolerate it at NCH&C and we want all our staff to feel safe, protected and listened to. It is crucial that all of us, whoever we are and whatever background we’re from, stand up to and call out any kind of racism and discrimination in our service.

To speak directly to our black staff and our whole BAME network and colleagues; please know that you matter, you are valued and you are part of NCH&C. The contribution that you make to enable our NHS to be the best healthcare organisation in the world cannot be underestimated, never more than now during the COVID-19 crisis.

We want to express support to you and that we know many of you are feeling worried, distressed or frightened. We know that the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups is an issue that you are concerned about and understand that recent events and subsequent reaction to them has understandably intensified how you are feeling.

So what are we doing?

First and foremost we commit to not being complacent. We recognise that we have much more to do to tackle the underlying causes of structural inequality and to encourage more diversity at the most senior levels of NCH&C. 

As a trust we take equality, diversity and inclusion incredibly seriously. But we know more can and needs to be done. Our five Equality and Diversity Objectives are available on our Intranet. These are reviewed every year. We have an established Equality and Diversity Steering Group which meets every two months to steer the organisation to address any emerging issues. Chaired by the Deputy Chief Executive, membership also includes a Non-Executive Director, PALS, HealthWatch, expert service users, staff ambassadors and staff. 

We have three Equality and Diversity Ambassadors who act as a point of support and advice to staff and work with the NCH&C to ensure there is equality and fair treatment for staff and patients of all backgrounds.

We want to do more. In support of Black Lives Matter, and in recognition of the importance of not staying silent about uncomfortable and important truths, we will also commit to better amplifying the voices of black members of our staff. We feel that it’s incredibly important to shine a light on their experiences of working at NCH&C and showcase their valuable contribution to the NHS. We also commit to continuing to ensure the voices, thoughts and experiences of BAME staff are reflected better in our communications.

If staff have further thoughts and ideas on how we can collectively continue to improve equality, diversity and inclusion at NCH&C, please contact Alex Watson, HR Business Partner (alex.watson@nchc.nhs.uk / 01603 272554) or Lisa Edwards, Deputy Director of Nursing & Quality (lisa.edwards@nchc.nhs.uk / 01603 272850). Our Equality, Diversity and inclusion page on the Intranet has lots more information too.

Finally, to all staff, please continue to check in with colleagues, friends, patients, clients. Don’t be afraid to offer support to those that need it and, we cannot stress enough the importance of speaking up if you see, hear, think or feel that discrimination is happening.

Best wishes,

Josie Spencer

CEO of NCH&C on behalf of the NCH&C Board

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