Staff who are working to make Walsall Healthcare inclusive for all by challenging racism and discrimination and breaking down barriers to support colleagues have won two regional awards for their efforts.
The BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Shared Decision-Making Council scooped the Outstanding Staff Network Award while Sabrina Richards, Head of Talent, Inclusion and Diversity, won the Changemaker of the Year Award.
Both won accolades in the Midlands Inclusivity and Diversity Award Scheme (MIDAS) which was launched this year by NHS England – Midlands to recognise the good work happening in the region across health and social care.
They were voted winners in a virtual event last Friday (18 November) afternoon.
The BAME Council, which was established during the pandemic, took on the challenge of COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy amongst BAME colleagues as just 43 per cent had been vaccinated by November 2020. After working closely with teams to understand staff fears, respect their concerns and ensure they received accurate information and support from trusted professionals, members managed to build up the vaccination rate to more than 80 per cent.
Sabrina nominated the council for its award.
Former Chair and Vice Chair Joan Dyer and Angela Cope said: “We ae absolutely over the moon to win this important award and so pleased to see our collective council efforts recognised across the region.
“We spent time with our hesitant staff to really understand what was worrying them and making them hesitant about the vaccine, particularly in light of the devastating consequence of the virus on those who hadn’t taken up this protection.
“We were very honest with people about our own fears and how we worked through those and we made sure we teamed up with trusted professionals such as our pharmacists who could help reassure and bust myths that were all over social media and frightening people. We went out at nights and weekends too so that all staff across all levels of the organisation had the opportunity to be armed with accurate information to make an informed choice.”
Sabrina was nominated by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Chief people Officer Catherine Griffiths who said: “Sabrina is a changemaker working from Board to Ward, with internal and external stakeholders/influencers using evidence base to shine a light on racism, discrimination, and giving a voice to those disadvantaged.
“Sabrina championed the Board pledge to be an anti-racist organisation, an early adopter of the Race Code and through education, raising awareness to change lived experience of BAME colleagues.”
Sabrina said: “I am extremely proud to have been acknowledged in this way. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are everyone’s responsibility and everyone has a part to play in challenging incivility and poor behaviours.
“Our Trust is striving to be an inclusive, supportive environment for all and that work continues each and every day.”
In addition, the Black Country ICS (Integrated Care System) was Highly Commended for its work led by Ashi Williams, Chief People Officer at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for its Equality Diversity Inclusion Strategy. This saw extensive engagement with health and care system partners, providing opportunities to talk to staff from a range of protected characteristics including staff networks, staff groups, and the system People Board, resulting in 200 survey responses and 134 staff participating in Focus Group sessions.
And colleagues at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust – Alan Duffell, Zoe Marsh and Maria Arthur – were all nominated and shortlisted for awards too in recognition of the innovative work within the Black Country and within both Trusts.
MIDAS will be an annual celebration, and this year will focus on work to address workforce race equality issues. Over the next few years, the scheme will be broadened to celebrate work to address other equality issues.