Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH) is supporting Black History Month[i] by launching their own inspiring ‘Proud to be’ campaign and sharing poignant stories from staff to promote diversity and inclusion across the Trust.

Black History Month (BHM) runs through October and this year is encouraging black and brown people of all ages and allies to share what they are ‘Proud to be’ on social media[ii]. KGH is going one step further and sharing role model stories from staff from all backgrounds in a bid to champion inclusivity across the Group.

This inclusive approach with everyone sharing what they are ‘proud to be’ is launched in a new staff video with an introduction from Andy Callow, Group Chief Digital Information Officer (Executive Sponsor for Reach Staff Networks for the Group) and Simon Weldon, Group CEO*

Each week in October the Group is sharing an inspirational story with the workforce from a staff member who outlines how they got to where they are today. The aim is to foster greater understanding through learning and sharing experiences with people from different backgrounds and cultures. The four role model stories are from:

  • Rabia Imtiaz, Interim Medical Director who grew up in Dubai and is the first Muslim, Asian, female medical director in the UK
  • Rudo Chimera, Clinical Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist and Therapies Cardio-Respiratory Team Lead who moved to the UK in 2004 from Zimbabwe
  • Steve Krikler, Chief of Division for Surgery who is English but had paternal grandparents born in Lithuania
  • Sreejith Nair, Clinical Skills and Simulation Trainer who moved from India in 2011

KGH provides acute healthcare services for people across North Northamptonshire and South Leicestershire. They are one of the largest employers in the area with around 4,000 staff of which approximately 25 per cent are black, Asian and minority ethnic.

KGH’s initiative is part of a wider goal to drive positive change that will impact equality, diversity, and inclusion amongst staff, and promote a safe and confidential environment to raise any issues and concerns. To do this, the hospital has set up a number of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Networks that are open to all staff.

All the networks are fully supported by the leadership team and sponsored by the board. Each network has at least one Co-chair – who are given one day a month protected time to focus on the network. When any issues arise, the co-chairs and networks work closely with HR to manage, address and resolve things.

The largest EDI network is REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage), but there is also a Disability and Wellbeing network, an LGBTQ+ network, a network for overseas medical professionals – nurses, doctors and allied health staff, a Young Peers network to ensure all key needs for younger members of staff and apprentices are addressed and a gender equality network which deals with everything from gender pay gap issues to childcare.

Carol Verner, Interim Head of Equality Diversity & Inclusion at KGH, said: “During Black History Month, we are sharing stories as a way of highlighting our diverse workforce and showing people what a great place Kettering is to work. The aim is to inspire and promote a better understanding of some of the issues and challenges people face.

“We believe each and every one of us is special and brings their own unique experiences to their role. By showcasing some truly inspirational people within our workforce we hope to break down barriers and encourage people to learn from each other, whatever their race or background.

“At the heart of this is the Group’s recognition that for every individual to achieve their full potential there must not be any fear of discrimination or prejudice and a belief that career opportunities or work experience are not pre-determined by ethnicity, nationality or colour.”

During BHM, Andy Callow, Group Chief Digital Information Officer is also taking positive action as the executive board sponsor for REACH and will deliver an online workshop for all staff on ‘Presentation Skills and Public Speaking’.

Andy Callow is delighted to do this session which was requested by the REACH network. He understands that this is a great opportunity for staff to improve their skills, as well as showcase board engagement in the EDI strategy and help both hospitals’ progress positively on their inclusivity journey.

Please find the link below for the Proud to be Video:

UHN Black History Month 2021 – YouTube

*Kettering General Hospital recently became a Group hospital and joined with Northampton General Hospital. The University Hospitals of Northamptonshire (UHN) NHS Group came into effect in July 2021; however, the two hospitals will remain separate organisations[iii].

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Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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