Congratulations to everyone involved in today’s launch of Walsall Healthcare’s BAME (Black And Minority Ethnic) Shared Decision Making Council.
The council was set up in June and its Chair is Matron Joan Dyer and Vice Chair is Senior Sister Angela Cope.
Joan, who has been with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for 17 years, said: “We’ve never had a forum like this at the trust before and it’s long overdue. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
“What matters to staff is that they are given a voice but – vitally – that their voices are not lost. It would be easy to set up a group like this as a box ticking exercise but we do have buy-in from the Executive Team at Walsall Healthcare. Executive and Non-Executive Board Members sit on the Cabinet to create, discuss and review the effectiveness of any actions taken. They know that they have to show commitment and belief in its aims because this is too important a forum to simply pay lip service to
“For me the Shared Decision Making Council is empowering BAME staff to achieve their potential through positive change.”
Vice Chair Angela who has been with the trust for 42 years said: “The BAME Shared Decision Making Council for me is a vehicle to drive organisational change and to eradicate workplace racial injustice. It is about improving through inclusion of equality and diversity and being an advocate for those who feel they have not got a voice.
“There is a real energy in our meetings and a real belief that BAME staff are finally being empowered.”
Interim Director of Nursing Ann-Marie Riley said: “The first piece of work the council is involved in is a focus on the impact of Covid-19 on our BAME colleagues who we know have been particularly vulnerable to the virus.
“For far too long our BAME colleagues in the NHS have not felt supported or listened to when they have tried to raise some of the discrimination they have faced, or circumstances that they have found themselves in, and this is just not acceptable. We can absolutely do something about this in our trust and owe it to our BAME colleagues to say enough is enough. Actions of course speak louder than words and over the next few weeks and months we will be sharing progress.
“For now let’s celebrate a significant move in the right direction.”