Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive
3 October 2022

Cara Charles-Barks
Cara Charles-Barks
All through October, we will be celebrating Black History Month at the RUH and this year's theme is 'Action not words'.

We launched our new Trust vision, The RUH, where you matter, last week, and I am committed to making sure that every member of our staff and all of our patients and visitors feel as though they matter from the minute they enter the hospital.

However, I acknowledge we are not always getting this right. Our evidence shows that where this is definitely the case is the experience of our ethnically diverse colleagues, who are:

  • more likely to experience bullying and harassment by patients and families as well as other staff members
  • less likely to believe that we offer equal opportunities for promotion for all
  • more likely to experience discrimination by your manager than a white team member

And while we have 800 members of staff who are ethnically diverse, there is only 4.2 per cent representation in band 8 and above.

Myself and the Board are committed to the RUH becoming a more inclusive place to work and seek treatment and believe race equality is an essential part of delivering great care. Progress in this area includes:

  1. Work to develop a race equality programme
  2. Introduce positive action recruitment programmes and development programmes etc.
  3. Development of a zero tolerance policy
  4. A tool kit on micro-aggressions
RUH staff raising the Black History Month flag at the main entrance

I am grateful to our Fusion Network for the work they do to create this culture such as delivering reverse mentoring, making sure we have the products needed to take care of our staff who have Black hair and skin, and putting together our Black History Month activities.

However, creating racial equality is everyone's business and requires real, decisive and proactive action. My ask of all of you this Black History Month is to be the change you want to see; be an ally to our ethnically diverse colleagues and show your support by taking part in our BHM activities . Have an honest conversation with our ethnically diverse staff about how you can support them at work.

I'm also very excited to let you know what on 19 October, we'll be holding our first ever Black History Month conference at Bath Spa University, Sion Hill campus, where we will commit to what action we take to address inequality. We are very lucky that Yvonne Coghill, Director – WRES Implementation in NHS England, will be joining us.

This change will take time, energy and commitment but I'm confident that we can do this, steered by our new RUH vision that will help us create the future RUH we all want to see.

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