Posted on: 3 June 2020

I’m writing to everyone to express my own, and the Board’s horror at the killing of George Floyd in the US and to acknowledge the great depth of feeling amongst our staff – especially those from a BAME background (46% of us) but, and this is a very striking feature, also from many other members of staff, from all backgrounds, who have expressed their own horror, opposition and support for their colleagues they work alongside.

I know it is the conversation in many teams throughout the Trust, acknowledging the injustice, standing by each other and offering support, which is exactly what I’d expect from a values-based organisation like this; to stand alongside colleagues, with that shared sense of belief and purpose.

CNWL is proud to be anti-racist; standing against all forms of discrimination and intimidation of anyone and we have spoken many times about it and how unacceptable it is, within the organisation and in wider society.

I also share the same concerns about the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on the BAME population, especially in London and amongst staff – something we have been pressing for research and investigation on for some time now. It is a complicated matter and there does appear to many aspects to it, including health and social inequalities.

That’s why we discussed it and pressed for the best use of PPE everywhere and also to discuss individually in every team all the vulnerabilities a particular staff member may have so that they are understood and addressed.

We have introduced this risk assessment tool to help encourage conversations in teams and with individuals about any ongoing concerns about Covid and safety. We are living with Covid for the foreseeable future, so these discussions are important for all colleagues but in this case especially by our BAME colleagues.

I’m pleased to say we started this work weeks ago and it’s now being adopted by the rest of the NHS in NWL and the Mayor of London is doing the same for his London workforce.

Diversity is a huge strength in any organisation – it makes for better services, better decisions and reflects the society we provide services to; we still need to make progress but we are progressing and we know where we want to reach.

That’s why, and it may seem old fashioned, but ‘an injury to one really is an injury to all.’

We are public servants and we are professional in all we do; but we’re proud of our values – we live by them and stand by them as we offer our thoughts and support to everyone affected.

Compassion – Respect – Empowerment - Partnership.

My best wishes to you all.