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Plymouth Hospitals Charity champions inclusion through dedicated funding

Plymouth Hospitals Charity’s (PHC) successful bid has enhanced the working lives of many at University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP).

Evidence shows that to provide patients with the best possible care, we must also ensure that our people get the best experience of work. Throughout 2020, UHP launched 5 staff networks with the goal to invest in the wellbeing of colleagues who identify with protected characteristics (gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and disability) and to give them a voice that is heard.  We know that people in our communities and our workplaces who identify with protected characteristics face more issues in the workplace including harassment, bullying or abuse, discrimination and barriers to career progression.  UHP want to ensure everyone has a real sense of belonging that enhances working relationships and encourages everyone to feel they do not need to hide who they are and bring their whole selves to work. PHC were able to secure funds to support the launch and growth of these 5 groups. During this time where supporting others was bumped to the forefront of our minds, these networks have become, confidential spaces for colleagues to discuss matters important to them at the same time as working with UHP to make our hospital inclusive for patients and colleagues who identify with protected characteristics.

Front cover of 2022 inclusion calendar UHP’s aim for our workforce to be representative of the local community in its diversity and for representation to be seen across all levels of the organisation is something that we strive for and felt it was important for funds to be used in a way to not only support but to encourage this.

These support and engagement groups are open to colleagues who identify with protected characteristics and those who do not and is for anyone who wants to make a real difference. The purpose of the networks is to enable us to better understand the lived experience of colleagues who identify with a protected group(s) and the issues they face in the workplace. With a dedicated Executive Champion who provides a direct link and a voice for their network at the Trust Board, these groups have quickly become a valuable part of the Trust. The grant received has allowed the networks to really integrate into UHP by being able to support key events such as Plymouth Pride, Plymouth Respect Festival and International Women’s Day as well as purchase much needed equipment for these events.

Jenny Birchall, Head of EDI supports, “All of our network members and network chairs are so committed to making a positive difference it has been an honour to be part of the conversation. Each network has used the funding differently although the overall aim is the same – give members a voice that is heard, talk about what works and the challenges members face at work.” She added, “I am confident that together we will make a positive and lasting change for colleagues and patients.”

The money has also been used to fund the Trust’s cultural inclusion calendar featuring health and cultural awareness events through the year for two consecutive years. This calendar has received overwhelmingly positive feedback and helps educate colleagues and patients about not only the work that is undertaken here, but also the importance of being an inclusive and diverse employer. Due to its success this will be part of the ongoing EDI plan. Please click here to view our latest calendar.

For any questions and for more information about getting involved with this work, please contact plh-tr.staffnetworks@nhs.net

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