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Staff network set up at Shropshire hospitals

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Health | Published: | Last Updated:

A network for black, Asian and ethnic minority staff has been set up at Shropshire's major hospitals.

Kal Parkash

The BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) network at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust held its first meeting last month.

Established by Kal Parkash, equality, diversity and inclusivity lead at the trust, the network aims to provide important support to colleagues, increase employee engagement, challenge mind sets and influence policy.

Kal joined SaTH, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, in March.

In her previous role at West Mercia Police, she was shortlisted for the National Excellence in Diversity Awards, in recognition of increasing BAME representation.

Kal said: “Staff networks provide important support to colleagues.

"Our first meeting focused on providing support to our staff and managers in response to the national review into the disproportionality of BAME patients affected by Covid-19.

"This group will absolutely help us to ensure we are responding in the right way and providing reassurance to staff.

“Equality, diversity and inclusivity doesn’t stand alone, it should be knitted into every area of our organisation.

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"I’m looking forward to building on the good work that has already taken place amongst my colleagues to drive this forward at SaTH."

Rhia Boyode, interim workforce director at SaTH, said: “We are proud to have a diverse workforce at SaTH and we believe that every person who comes to work should be respected and represented.

"The launch of our BAME network will further strengthen work that has already taken place to ensure a safe and nurturing working environment for every member of staff, regardless of who they are or what they look like.”

Louise Barnett, chief executive at SaTH, said: “The aim of the network is to provide a forum where BAME staff can share experiences and issues affecting their work and professional development. We want to raise the visibility and the profile of the contribution that our BAME staff members make and ensure a safe and positive working environment by eliminating all forms of racial discrimination for employees and patients.”

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Arne Rose, medical director at SaTH, took part in a video, ‘Show Racism the Red Card in the NHS’ last month, alongside celebrities including Gary Linker and Chris Kamara.

Arne said: “Racism is an ongoing issue in the NHS. During the coronavirus pandemic we are all coming to appreciate how much value immigrants and people from different ethnic backgrounds bring to our healthcare system. The NHS is a universal service.

“We have a diverse workforce, and every single member of staff who comes to work in our healthcare system does so knowing they are potentially putting themselves at risk to help the people they care for.

"They should be treated with respect, no matter who they are or what they look like.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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