Case Study: Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust
Polish born Anna Kusztyb saw an opportunity to get involved in a BAME network and reach out to her community. Here she explains how she did both.
I have always been interested in Equality and Diversity and I am passionate about working with people.
When I saw an opportunity to get involved in working on these issues via our BME Staff Network, I was keen to be involved.
Previously our network at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) had been co-ordinated jointly with two other NHS provider organisations in Lincolnshire. However, last year, it was felt it would be better to push the WRES (Workforce Race Equality Standard) agenda forward through individual networks.
The move also supported LCHS’s commitment to increase the opportunities and support available for BME staff members.
The Trust’s data for 2016-17 showed 2.94 per cent of staff identified themselves as being BME.
I was not sure what would be the best way to approach my colleagues about joining our staff networks, so I started with our communications team. We used a broad range of channels to share information about our three networks; the BME Staff Network, LGBT Staff Network and Disabilities and Carers Staff Network. This included establishing a group on Facebook and building information pages on our intranet.
I chose to provide my direct contact details as part of our communications so that staff could freely ask questions at any time without feeling under any obligation to physically join the meetings. We have had many instances of staff wanting to remain anonymous and we always respect their wishes. We know that it is not always easy to come and talk about issues but we like to ensure that individuals never feel they are left without help.
When I am travelling around the Trust I take every opportunity to talk to staff members, whether this is in the staff room, in the photocopier room or in the car park. I believe that I need to be easily approachable, open-minded, friendly and professional.
We also seek support from Staff Side (union representatives) when looking for solutions to any issues raised.
Moving forward, we have many activities planned for our staff network. These include reviewing LCHS’s national NHS Staff Survey results in March and looking for trends from the WRES indicators to decide if any further actions are needed. We will be celebrating Black History Month and participating in Anti Bullying Week.
We are also continuing to help our staff network to grow by encouraging a diverse range of applicants to join our trust.
We are working closely with our Workforce team to visit our local communities to talk about career opportunities and the recruitment process.
By developing these opportunities and a strong support network, we hope our trust will be considered to be inclusive and reflect our diverse communities.
We continue to arrange events in a wide variety of places, including local factories, schools and churches, to engage with people about our trust and its services. We support people in those communities to understand what medical services are available to them and encourage them to apply for opportunities to work with us. We have also arranged awareness sessions relating to NHS Jobs to help people, many of which we know have come from different countries, to search and apply for our vacancies.