Let's Share Good Practice at University Hospitals Plymouth

We know that colleagues from around our Trust are working hard to create a workplace where everyone matters. We want to raise awareness of these stories in order to share learning, great ideas and good practice to inspire others on their inclusion journeys. Together we can continue to work towards creating a more inclusive workplace for everyone.

Erme Ward

Yordan Sinapov, Ward Manager

Photo of the team on Erme Ward

About us

We are the South West Neurosurgical Centre also known as Erme Ward at University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP).

Our team is made up of healthcare professionals from all over the world and each member of our team is unique in their own way. We have staff members from Bulgaria, England, Ghana, India, Italy, Southern Ireland, Nepal, Philippines, South Africa, Scotland, Wells. We also have staff from the LGBTQ+ community and staff with a wide range of different religious beliefs.

My name is Yordan Sinapov and I am one of the Ward Managers on Erme ward. I am a gay Bulgarian man and I'm engaged to my Jewish partner.

The reason we are keen to make our workplace inclusive

Everyone works better when they feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. We are so lucky to be a diverse team with a huge mix of cultures and identities amongst us and so it just makes sense that we make the effort to celebrate this diversity. If we celebrate and respect our differences, then we will be happier at work and this will extend to the care we give to patients.

Also, it’s not just about celebrating our diversity but educating ourselves and each other too. Everyone comes to work with different experiences and from different backgrounds and if we focus on inclusion, we can learn more about each other and be a stronger team as a result. Inclusion is about making everybody feel happy and comfortable at work, about creating a space where we extend kindness, honesty and respect to each other regardless of our wonderfully diverse backgrounds.

How we ensure we act in a way that allows all of our colleagues to feel they belong and are valued

For us, inclusion comes down to creating a psychologically safe space. Psychological safety is about creating an environment where everyone feels valued just as they are. A psychologically safe space means that we support each other, we challenge each other safely and we are comfortable sometimes making mistakes as it’s the best way to learn. To create this space we encourage everyone in our team to share with us what’s important to them, to always be honest with us and to always look out for each other.

This extends to management too - we want our team to tell us what is and isn’t working so we can make sure we are explaining things correctly, admitting our mistakes and changing things based on feedback from the team. I personally did not get it right on one occasion but was very pleased that the staff felt comfortable coming to me and telling me what I had done wrong so I could correct my mistake. Our starting point for creating this environment was making sure we really understood what’s going on with our team and what matters to them.

What we did

To begin with we started the conversation about inclusion and diversity, we explained why it matters and started to think about what actions we could take on our inclusion journey. Our first action was to ask everyone in the team to share with us the cultural, religious and social occasions that matter to them. For some in the team this was all about Christmas and Easter, for some it was Birthdays and weddings and because we are lucky to have such a diverse team this also extended to Diwali, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah and LGBTQ+ Pride.

We created a space on our education board for the UHP EDI calendar, so it is more visible to everyone.

We highlighted that staff could request days off for cultural and religious celebrations that are important to them and their identity.

We appointed a cultural advisor for Erme Ward that would advise managers on important upcoming cultural and religious festivals so we can organise a celebration on the Ward.

Nevertheless, the EDI work on Erme Ward did not start recently as the team has always celebrated important days on the Ward with the team sharing food and personal stories.

What we will do next

Encourage people to share a few sentences on the board in the staff room about their upcoming festivals so we all can learn something new about each other.

Expand the cultural advisor’s team so we can have a broader input into this important topic.

Include an EDI section within our monthly newsletter.

Clarify and set clear guidelines on how people can request days off for their celebrations so everyone will be given an opportunity to celebrate most of their celebrations.

But most importantly we will continue supporting staff throughout their professional and personal journey and will continue celebrating Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within our team and fostering a psychologically safe space.


Pharmacy Department

Image of the Pharmacy Team on a dog walk

About us

We are the Pharmacy Department at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.

We employ around 190 people and are proud of the diversity within our department.

Several of our staff belong to one of the protected characteristic groups. They (and allies) are encouraged to join appropriate staff networks.

Our Chief Pharmacist, Kandarp Thakkar, is the Chair of the South West Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Group – part of that group’s role is to develop an inclusion manifesto.

We work closely with Project SEARCH to give people opportunities within Pharmacy.

The reason we are keen to make our workplace inclusive

Our values are centred around putting people first and respect – inclusivity is a key part of this.

Recruitment is an issue in the South West – inclusive practice does get shared and this attracts people to work for us.

Staff Retention can be a challenge and feeling included makes people want to stay (we have found this in our exit interview themes).

What we did

Our Recruitment video which actively shows diversity within our Pharmacy team.

'Ask Your Chief Pharmacist' webinar to highlight any EDI initiatives – focused presentations on neurodivergence, Christmas, Diwali, etc.

No tolerance around any kind of discrimination – escalation directly/indirectly to Chief Pharmacist.

Presentations from Chairs of Staff Networks to all staff – with active encouragement and time to join.

What we will do next

Social committee to be more inclusive. Not every event should centre around bars/pubs to include people who don’t drink. We want to organise at least 2 events per year that are totally inclusive for all staff.

South West Inclusive Pharmacy Practice manifesto to be embedded into the Department (once published).

Increasing international recruitment.

Succession planning with a focus on opportunities for people with protected characteristics.


Medicine Care Group and Post-Graduate Medical Centre (PGMC)

Kenny Naughton, Interim Deputy Care Group manager; Caitlin Taylor, Postgraduate Medical Education Co-ordinator; Finn McGahan, Deputy Service Line manager Cancer Services

Photo of Internal Medicine team’s international luncheon

About us

The Medicine Care Group and Post-Graduate Medical Centre (PGMC) management teams have collaborated on pieces of work to improve the induction, support and retention of International Medical Graduates (IMGs). IMGs are a significant part of our Trust’s workforce and greatly contribute to the diverse teams we have within the hospital. Their knowledge and experience developed across the world is invaluable to the teams they work within. We recognise that transitioning into a different healthcare system from abroad presents unique educational requirements and therefore the Postgraduate Medical Education (PGMC) team, with help from colleagues across the Trust, have been developing our programme of support over the last 2 years to include bespoke educational opportunities for our ever-growing community of IMG colleagues.

The reason we are keen to make our workplace inclusive

Beyond superior staffing rations, the diversity of colleagues now well embedded in the Medicine Care Group has improved team cohesion and wellbeing. This would not have been possible were it not for the championing of EDI within the Medicine Care Group and ensuring staff were supported and empowered.

As an international medical graduate I had my first job in the GIM department at Derriford Hospital, I received a great welcome, excellent induction, and great support throughout my time in the department until I settled down. I am grateful for Kenny personally and for the all the team behind him”

- Yousif Elzein, Acute Medicine Registrar, UHP

"I enjoy making friendships and getting to know colleagues from different places and specialties. I think this is very important to support one another and keep Derriford IMG friendly”.

- Feedback from previous attendee of a World Café evening

What we did

The PGMC are now able to offer new IMGs an interactive, face-to-face, introductory session which covers key information for anyone new to the NHS and the UK; from the patient journey within the NHS system to where the best supermarkets are for diverse food options within the city. We coordinate a range of sessions across the year, designed specifically for IMG colleagues, covering clinical skills training, death certification, e-portfolio use and other topics to help IMGs feel confident in their roles. One of our most popular offerings is our World Café evenings where IMGs can enjoy some international cuisine, provided by Nellies café, and interact with fellow IMG colleagues. This introduces new IMGs to the excellent IMG community within the Trust and provides vital peer support for these colleagues who often arrive in the UK on their own.

The PGMC have also worked closely with the Medicine Care Group to support two cohorts of graduates from Charles University in Prague joining the Trust. We have been able to develop a two-month structured induction period and educational package which is designed around the skills developed within the Foundation Training Programme, with a unique focus on allowing newly graduated doctors from overseas to develop the necessary skills to thrive in the NHS environment. The Trust will be welcoming the third cohort of doctors onto this programme in August this year.

The Medicine Care Group had been on a significant recruitment phase over the past 18 months in order to increase the safety on wards through improving core numbers during the week and out of hours. Many of those recruited did come from overseas and ended up joining the newly created Internal Medicine service line. This team of consultants is itself  made up from international doctors from Singapore to Guatemala. Their Clinical Director and lead for education Dr Roland Boey and Dr Geraldine Quinterro respectively have led an innovation for specialty registrars to join a new Internal Medicine rotation for training in partnership with Health Education England (HEE).

This new programme has allowed those joining from overseas the opportunity to continue their specialty training in Internal Medicine as a single specialty. Given that multi-morbid conditions are set to rise inexorably over the next ten years, this will secure a pipeline of consultants in General Medicine and Acute Medicine at UHP and within the wider NHS.

Recognition of the diverse and vibrant experiences of these medical professionals was important for the Medicine Care Group as well as ensuring equity of opportunity to match domestic colleges. In light of this, the 20+ junior-grade doctors initially recruited by the Care Group were offered a rotational work pattern to expose them to a similar variety of medical specialties as domestic foundation programme trainees enjoy. Furthermore, a series of introductory seminars were commissioned to familiarise international medical graduates with the nuances of the NHS and healthcare in the UK. As well as prescribing and clinical communication, the seminars also addressed some practical concerns of moving to a new country such as setting up a bank account and applying for a driving licence – concerns that may be taken for granted.

What we will do next

Going forward, now working as part of the wider Medical Workforce and Education team, the PGMC are excited to continue to develop what we can offer our IMG colleagues to ensure they feel fully supported within their role and valued for the significant contribution they make to our Trust.

More information about the IMG support available through PGMC can be found on our website: https://www.pgmeplymouth.com/international-medical-graduates

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