Conference celebrates importance of equal opportunities and equality for Lincolnshire’s NHS staff

NHS staff from black and ethnic minority backgrounds have been sharing their experiences of working in Lincolnshire at a countywide conference.

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Receptionist Kristina Utariene and healthy communities officer Anna Kusztyb, who both work for Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), were among those speaking at the third annual Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) conference on Friday afternoon.

The event, which is run in partnership between LCHS, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, celebrated work promoting equal access and fair treatment in the workplace from the last year, as well as giving opportunity to consider feedback and areas of focus for 2018/19.

Anna, who moved to Lincolnshire from Poland in 2005, helps to support communities to understand which services are available to them and how to access them appropriately.

Anna, who is also BME Staff Network chair at LCHS, said: “I feel very privileged to have been able to help LCHS launch its BME Staff Network over the last year. I love to work with people and this work is about helping everyone to be identified and treated as an individual, rather than being identified by one or more of the nine protected characteristics, such as age, sex, gender, religion or belief. I hope by sharing my positive experiences, it will encourage more people to come forward to support our work.”

Other speakers at the event hosted at The Showroom in Lincoln included Yvonne Coghill, director of WRES implementation at NHS England, Marie Gabriel, Chairperson of East London NHS Foundation Trust, and author and coach Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE, who spoke about the power of staff networks.

Elaine Baylis QPM, chair of LCHS and interim chair of ULHT, said: “Our staff, regardless of which NHS organisation they work for here in Lincolnshire, bring a wealth of compassion, dedication and expertise in helping us to deliver excellent care. We must ensure that we do all we can to encourage and celebrate the diversity they bring and promote a culture where everyone has equal opportunity to aspire and excel in their chosen field. We are very proud to continue to support this work across the health community in Lincolnshire.”

Paul Devlin, chair of LPFT, added: “There is clear evidence that staff who feel valued, listened to and appreciated deliver high quality patient care and, as a result, increase patient satisfaction. Events like this challenge us to do more for our staff and identify what we need to concentrate on to give every staff member an opportunity to work to their full potential.”