October 1-31 is Black History Month: a national celebration of the diversity and richness of Black history and culture.
NCH&C has always been committed to providing an inclusive environment for its staff and providing care without prejudice to its diverse patient base. However, 2020 has shown us that we still have more work to do.
2020 has been a pivotal year for action on anti-racism. The global #BlackLivesMatter protests have brought conversations about institutionalised racism to the forefront of everyone’s attention. At the same time, we cannot ignore the increased risk that Black patients and NHS staff face during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Black History Month was launched some thirty-plus years ago, we believe that celebrating in 2020 is more important than ever. This year, we want to amplify the voices of Black members of our staff, and shine a light on their experiences and contribution to NCH&C.
The NHS has always depended on the talents on its diverse workforce. When the NHS was founded over 70 years ago, the post-war healthcare system was built on Black nurses from the Caribbean recruited by the UK Government.
It is a sad fact that the history of the UK is frequently white-washed, downplaying the significance of people of colour. Black history is British history, closely tied to the history of the NHS. It should be recognised and celebrated throughout the year, not just for a single month.
As such, we see Black History Month as a starting point: a way to recognise and celebrate the amazing contribution made by our Black colleagues at NCH&C.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t get together and celebrate Black History Month in the way it deserves. For now, we’re celebrating as much as we can. Several of our Black colleagues have shared blog posts outlining their experiences of working for NCH&C.
Clemence, Project Manager in the projects and investments team, shares her experience of finding a sense of belonging at NCH&C.
In our #WeCareTogether staff stories, Bibian, Olufemi, and Abraham tell us what is was like working through the start of the pandemic.
We are also supporting staff by sharing resources relevant to Black History Month, including links to the NHS England BME Network, and information about Black History Month in Norfolk. Staff can access this from the Black History Month page on the NCH&C Intranet.
At NCH&C we believe that Black History Month matters to everyone. Failure to recognise the important cultural contributions made by Black people renders a significant portion our society invisible and allows institutional racism to continue.
We do hope you’ll join us in recognising and celebrating the amazing contribution made by our Black colleagues, throughout Black History Month and beyond.