Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff Network

The acronym BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and is defined as all ethnic groups except White ethnic groups. It does not relate to country origin or affiliation. 

Cultural diversity is a tremendous asset that we have at UHP. Every person, regardless of their ethnicity or background, should be able to fulfil their potential at work. We must be understanding of others and their cultures as they bring a wider range of skills and teach us to respect differences in beliefs and opinions.

This network will provide an open forum for our BAME colleagues to share their experience of the workplace in a supportive and safe environment. The network will provide a ‘listening ear’ for our BAME colleagues as well as seeking their views to help shape our inclusion agenda and enable us to focus our efforts on actions that will make the biggest and most positive difference.


When is the next BAME Staff Network?

To be confirmed

The MS Teams invite will be sent out to the BAME Network members each month. Please complete the sign up form to join the network here.


Co-Chairs announced for BAME Network

Interviews took place late 2021, for our second BAME Network Chair term. The interview panel was made up of and chaired by BAME Network colleagues and we are delighted to inform you that Kyeiyanne James was re-appointed to be the BAME Network Co-Chair alongside newly appointed Co-Chair TK Rajesh. Congratulations to them both on what will be pivotal roles in the organisation at this point in time. A big thank you to the efforts and time given by outgoing Deputy Chair Rez Rogers, who is focussing on her masters studies - good luck and thank you Rez!

TK Rajesh and Kyeiyanne James front of UHP

Here Kyeiyanne and TK tell us a bit more about themselves:

Kyeiyanne James is our new BAME Network Chair

“Hello, my name is Kyeiyanne James (Beckles) and I originate from Trinidad and Tobago from a big city called Port of Spain. I am a proud mum of two boys, aged nine and 10, and have been living in the UK since 2010. In Trinidad I studied Medical Laboratory Technology, which involved working in various labs.
“I started working for the Trust in 2013 as a phlebotomist, and after one year I got a position in Microbiology as a Band 2. Presently I work as an Associate Practitioner in the Immunology/Flow Cytometry department and in time I wish to work as a Biomedical Scientist.

“Since our move to Plymouth, my family, friends and I have experienced discrimination. Whilst I have been involved at my children’s school making changes and increasing awareness, it wasn’t until the BAME post came up at the Trust that I started to believe I could be involved in making a bigger impact.

“I am delighted to have been re-appointed to be the Co-Chair of the BAME Network and because of my own personal experiences I am confident that I can help others. I look forward to improving the BAME relationships within this Trust and the wider community. We are all different but we are all equal and there is strength in unity.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me so far, and I am looking forward to the BAME Network moving from strength to strength, especially with TK joining me as Co-Chair. I am very proud of the Trust for investing in such a positive movement and the future is an exciting one.”


“Hello my name is Mr Rajesh T.K., born and brought up in South India (Tamil Nadu/Kerala), and I am very proud to have been appointed to this important role in the Trust. 

I am a Consultant General, Paediatric and Colorectal Surgeon so firstly, a bit about my career and journey to the Trust. I am gold medallist from the medical school in 1993 and I passed my Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (FRCS) in India in 1998 and I was invited by the Professor of Surgery in Edinburgh to come and work in the UK. Since then, I have been associated with the NHS.

I have been in the surgical field since 1994 and working with University Hospitals Plymouth as Colorectal and General Paediatric surgeon from 2011. I have been recognised as a National/ International Trainer on surgical procedures and obtained multiple awards and developed unique surgical techniques during this time. TK Rajesh announced as BAME Co-Chair

My journey in the UK was not a pleasant one. I was undermined, ridiculed, bullied and discriminated against as I was from a third world country. I was even manhandled and threatened for my life. But, I have overcome this all by simple principles of love and forgiveness.  

My vast clinical and lived in experience shall help everyone, not just the BAME community, and my overall goal is to help my patients receive quality healthcare.

I am delighted to have been appointed as Co-Chair, and my aims for the network are:

  • Increase engagement of the BAME network members and new members
  • Help BAME community members to prepare and face interview challenges 
  • Be a helping hand for the members of the BAME community


Network Champion

Jo Beer “I am honoured to be the Executive Champion for the BAME network. I see my role as Champion as supporting your network, championing diversity and sustainable inclusion across the organisation and wider health and care system.

"I’m a nurse by trade and vocation and I’ve worked in many roles throughout my 33-year career and loved every one. I am passionate about the NHS and the provision of health care to all who need it. I volunteer locally, supporting the homeless and people with complex lives, and am currently working with community partners to bid for future investment and development. I have also volunteered internationally with my family, providing healthcare and education to remote communities; this was a life changing experience for all of us.

"I’m very conscious that I am a working-class, white woman representing a Trust Board that is not as diverse as we would like and I want to acknowledge that up front. I also want to commit to embrace the difficult conversations we will all need to have to make the changes to the conversations we have in the future. I know that I have much to learn.

"As we learn more about the disproportionate effects of Covid-19 on BAME communities and watch the world’s response to George Floyd’s death, establishing this network seems more important than ever.  I hope that you will join us in establishing this Network and really look forward to meeting you all.”

Jo Beer - Director of Integrated Care and Partnerships 


Culturally Diverse Staff Common Rooms

Colleagues in the national People Team in partnership with NHS Practitioner Health have been busy developing virtual Staff Common Rooms for NHS colleagues from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities across the NHS. This is an opportunity for our NHS people to come together virtually and to invest some time in supporting each other during these challenging times. Open to absolutely anyone although specifically catering to the needs of our NHS staff from BAME communities working within the NHS across England, regardless of job role, organisational context or hierarchy and includes all final year students who have been working on the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more information, please see the PDF file attached in the documents section of this page.


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