Posted on: 17 October 2022

Last week, CNWL's Network for Black Asian and ethnic minority staff held an event to mark Black History Month.

To coincide with this year’s theme of “action and not words, the Network launched a campaign - “Show Racism the Red Card” to shine a light on racism and its impact on staff, empowering them to call out such behaviour from patients and colleagues.

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Over 60 staff members joined the event (in person and on Zoom) with many sharing their experiences of racism and highlighting what we need to focus on in the Trust to make sure staff are aware of the policy and process around reporting racism and feel at ease with doing so.

If you missed it, you can watch the recording back here.

Staff first listened to a video message from CNWL’s Chair, Dot Griffiths, who shared her thoughts on what Black History Month means to her.

‘Black History Month is really important and it grows important every year. All of our staff from black communities make an enormous contribution to the Trust and this is a way of learning about some of their history”.

Samuel Owiredu, Network Co-Chair followed on to explain the focus of the event and what we hope to achieve.

“Normally for an event like this we spend time to talk about the achievements of black people, but… the Network along with the committee decided to focus on something we’ve heard so much about and what our staff are telling us based on their own experience - and the word is racism.”

Vicky Haddow, CNWL's AD Strategy, Business and Partnership. spoke about a training programmer she attended (put together by the Kings Fund and an organisation called brap) and the important work the Diggory Division have been doing to train staff to recognise racism and move towards an anti-racist approach:

“It [the training] was really quite changing for the five of us that did it - it really made an impact on us. From that course we want brap to come in with a couple of learning events. We’ve done one in Milton Keynes now and it was thought provoking. We will also be running one in November in Central London for our London and Surrey based services.”

Guest speaker Patricia (Trisha) Hughes, NHS England’s Director of Nursing/Deputy Director of Nursing and AHP workforce joined the conversation, empowering staff with her inspirational tips, guidance and experiences of racism and how we should try to tackle it.

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“Lift as you climb is really important. When you are going up that ladder, who else are you bringing with you because that is going to make the difference.”

“Sometimes people don’t realise the impact of their behaviour…it’s the hardest thing you will ever do, but you should tackle it in that moment and tell them how their behaviour has made you feel”

Alastair Penman, CNWL’s Borough Director for Hillingdon Mental Health Services spoke about his zero-tolerance approach to racism that he has seen from patients to colleagues.

“I will see things said to people and dependent on the frequency and severity there have been times when I have had direct conversations with patients and outlined their behaviour as unacceptable”

Charlotte, Chief People Officer, led the next session, highlighting national statistics of inequalities and discrimination and why she is backing our campaign to “Show Racism the Red Card”.

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“We want to get behind campaigns like Show Racism the Red card. The slogan for this really rings true for what people have been talking about this afternoon. See it, if you experience it. Report it. If you see racism, report it - call it out. If you’re experiencing it, call it out, report it. The more that we speak up, the more that we understand it’s happening and the more we can do to address it.”

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Claire Murdoch, CNWL’s Chief Executive also showed her support for the campaign. She said:

“I’m delighted to be sponsoring this campaign of zero tolerance to racism against staff - whether it’s colleague to colleague, or patient to colleague or patient to patient. It really is time to say no to racism in our organisation.”

The event ended with an awards ceremony led by Network Co-chair, Varsha Dodhia. The Network asked colleagues to share their nominations and shine a spotlight on a team or individual who have gone above and beyond.

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A special mention was made to the following staff for being nominated:

  • Bosam Onyema, Operations Manager – Brent Older Adults Service
  • Abdulkadir Mohamed, Assistant practitioner: South Hub - West End Primary Care Network
  • Seun Ogunkunle, Clinical Educator/Advanced Specialist Physiotherapist
  • Monica Davis, Clinical Lead – Harrow 0 – 19 Service
  • William Benyure, Brent CAMHs Assessment Team Manager
  • Nadia Gardner, Team Administrator – Queens Park and Paddington
  • Lynis Lewis, Service Director, R&D Noclor