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Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive
11 February 2022

Cara Charles-Barks
Cara Charles-Barks
As Race Equality Week – an annual UK-wide movement that unites organisations and individuals to address the barriers to race equality in the workplace – draws to a close, I've been reflecting on where we are as an organisation from a representation perspective and what more we can do.

My personal stance is that I am passionate about helping each and every one of you feel a sense of belonging at the RUH and that this sense of belonging helps you feel that you can be your authentic selves.

An inclusive workplace benefits us all – including our patients – as we share knowledge and learning that our individual backgrounds and life experiences give us. The NHS is with everyone in society from cradle to grave so it must be a modern organisation that moves with the times and reflects society as it currently is At the RUH I believe we are making progress and my executive colleagues, our Trust Board and I are strongly committed to closing the gap between the experience White people and ethnically diverse groups have in the workplace.

Our latest WRES data shows that we have made some inroads into improving Board and Senior Manager representation of ethnically diverse colleagues. However, 28 per cent of our ethnically diverse colleagues reported that they have experienced bullying and harassment from patients, visitors and colleagues. Also, White colleagues were 4.35 times more likely to progress from lower to higher banded roles.

In wider society, ethnically diverse groups are more likely to live in poverty, which then impacts on access to education and health care. They are also under represented in all managerial roles and underpaid compared to White counterparts with the same qualifications. Black women are also 43 per cent more likely to have a miscarriage. On this last point, this week we have welcomed an Inclusion Midwife to support equality of care for women and birthing people.

We are lucky to have active and engaged Fusion Network group, which represents our ethnically diverse groups at the RUH. This group has been helping us to formulate an action plan to improve the experience of these colleagues at the RUH as well as taking part in reciprocal mentoring with senior colleagues along with other representatives from marginalised groups.

But it's not just up to our Fusion Network group to do the work – far from it. We can all support by being allies – that is actively aspiring to increase the voice of those who have been historically underrepresented.

We also need to make sure we have the right policies and processes in place, particularly when it comes to recruitment, bullying and harassment and disciplinary proceedings where ethnically diverse groups are disproportionately negatively affected.

Our new Director for People and Culture, Alfredo Thompson, will be carrying out a review of all aspects of our equality, diversity and inclusion work. I'm also confident that initiatives already under way, such as our Civility project, Restorative Just Culture piece, new People Strategy and a refreshed Trust vision, that will put people firmly at the heart of the RUH, will galvanise positive change.

But we still have work to do. To our ethnically diverse colleagues; your stories are powerful. Please keep telling them. They will help us understand your experience of being at the RUH. I know that this time next year, we will have made significant steps towards being the outstanding organisation I know we are. And to me that means that all of our staff have the opportunity to flourish.

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