Staff networks: What's new?

Support for our diverse colleagues

Support for our diverse colleagues

Bespoke health and wellbeing support for our diverse colleagues

As part of the national health and wellbeing programme for our NHS people, and working in collaboration with our staff networks, we have developed a number of bespoke support offers for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) NHS colleagues.

If you need support now and would like to talk to someone or access support via a health and wellbeing app, please click here for details on our Samaritans helpline, Hospice UK bereavement helpline and how to access the apps.  You can also seek support through our staff mental health hubs or through your GP and local NHS services.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training

We are working with MHFA England to offer a cohort of training sessions aimed at NHS staff from diverse backgrounds, focusing on our BAME, LGBT+ and disabled colleagues. The programme comprises of four half-day learning sessions, facilitated virtually and you will need to attend all four half-day sessions to gain your certificate. MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but just like physical first aid, it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond.

MHFA Training for BAME colleagues will commence on 21 September 2021. All places for these sessions have been filled.

MHFA Training for LGBT+ colleagues will commence on 22 September 2021. All places for these sessions have been filled.

MHFA Training for disabled colleagues will commence on 13 October 2021. All places for these sessions have been filled.

MHFA is an internationally recognised training course that teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. We have limited places for this training project, places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. All data will be dealt with in strict confidence and will not be shared with any third parties.

Faith counselling from the Association of Christian Counsellors

A free service (for people of all beliefs and none) developed and funded by the Association of Christian Counsellors, who are offering up to 8 online or telephone counselling sessions from qualified counsellors at flexible appointment times by video or telephone, for:

  • NHS clinical and non-clinical staff working with Covid-19 patients in a hospital setting
  • Ancillary staff working in Covid-19 areas in hospital settings including cleaners, porters and mortuary workers
  • Paramedics and anyone working within the ambulance services caring for patients with Covid-19

The confidential service is open to people of all beliefs and none, and you can ask to be matched on ethnicity.

You can find out more and book a session here.

Looking After You Too: an individual coaching support offer for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff working in NHS trusts

This is a one to one wellbeing coaching support offer for the BAME NHS workforce in NHS trusts.

Talking to a trained coach can help you process the experiences you are facing, develop coping skills and importantly, develop practical strategies to manage the situation and maintain your health and wellbeing, so you can carry on with your work and your life. It’s a space for you to offload the demands of whatever you are experiencing, deal with difficult conversations ensuring your wellbeing and resilience remains a priority.

All coaching sessions are free and confidential – details will never be shared with employers. All coaching sessions are available via phone or video call, seven days a week at a day and time that suits you.

This programme is open to new bookings, find out more and book here.

NHS Support line for our Filipino colleagues

There is a team of fully qualified and trained professionals, all of whom are Tagalog speakers, ready to help you at our NHS Support Line for Filipino Staff.

This support line is here for when you’ve had a tough time, are feeling worried or overwhelmed, or maybe you have a lot on your mind and need to talk it through. This assistance is available from anywhere in the country and is provided by Hospice UK.

Tagalog speaking specialist counsellors and support workers are available if you would like to discuss:

  • any anxiety or emotional issues you may be experiencing
  • a bereavement
  • if your wellbeing has been affected by witnessing trauma as part of your work

To book a consultation, call: 0300 303 1115

All calls will be treated in the strictest of confidence and this will be explained to you when you call. This service is available seven days a week, between 8:00am and 8:00pm. You do not need a referral.


For more information, visit NHS England » Support for our diverse colleagues 

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FREE Art Based Health and Wellbeing Workshop - limited availability

Working alongisde Plymouth College of Art, an opportunity for an art based wellbeing workshop, aimed at women has been developed. The aim of this workshop is to explore our strong emotions. To come to terms with them, to be unafraid of sharing them and to understand that we are not alone in our feelings. In opposition to what we are regularly told to do, this is a celebration of strong emotions that are often bundled up inside ourselves awaiting an inopportune moment of release. We are giving them voice. This workshop is aimed primarily at women and how we have experienced the last year 


We have two available dates, with a maximum capacity of ten on each, on a first come, first served basis:


Tuesday November 9th @ 5.30pm

Tuesday December 7th @ 5.30pm


It will be held at Postgraduate Medical Centre, in the downstairs Communal and Events Room.


This has been paid for using the Network funds and has limited spaces, so please do ensure you are able to attend when you book.


Please email with an further queries, or to book your place on this course.


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Black History Month 2021 Nominees- Week 5

CU Claire Underdown, Assistant Director of People

She is very passionate about culture and inclusion in the entire trust. She is very empathetic and personable even when we raise any BAME concerns.
Words alone cannot express the gratitude I have as BAME colleague for her.
I just want to say a heartfelt thank you for being an ally. 

Thank-you, Claire.


jh Hannah Jory, Assistant Practitioner in Research and Development

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Hannah Jory as I nominate her as a colleague who has gone above and beyond
 for me. I have lived in Plymouth less than a year, first day in my job at the Hospital, I discovered I work in the same office as my neighbour Hannah who I had not met till then. Wow! what a welcome from her! She introduced me to the other neighbours, offered help and advice on things to do in the city and free lifts into work during school holidays. Hannah you have been s true shinning star!

Thank-you, Hannah. 


JB Jo Beer, Chief Operating Officer

Jo is a very supportive person and an inspiring leader. Despite a very hectic schedule Jo always finds 
time to promote ethnic diversity with in the trust.

Thank-you, Jo. 


Rebecca Brown, Diabetes Specialist Nurse

Rebecca Brown works in the Diabetes Centre. During the Covid pandemic she was redeployed to  A and E in order to support her colleagues in the trust. During this time, she arranged for her children to live with other family members so that she could provide high level care and support to colleagues, whilst keeping her family safe. Following this, she was also a vaccinator, vaccinating both members of the public and staff. She goes above and beyond everyday and is an outstanding colleague and a simply awesome person. In the Diabetes Centre she specialises in the care of patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She always supports her colleagues and provides her patients with outstanding care.

Thank-you, Rebecca.


CU Siobhan McCoulough, Tissue Viability Nurse 

Shiv has worked effortlessly to promote education surrounding Tissue Viability and how it appears in ethnically diverse persons. She is a true pioneer as her work will reduce mis-diagnosis' and/or amputations for our patients. Keep up the great work. 


Thank-you, Siobhan.

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Black History Month 2021 Nominees- Week 4

Merris Longstaff, Nurse at Minor Injuries

Merris has worked well over 30 years for the N.H.S . She is very kind to patients and staff, having excellant communcation skills written or orally. Nothing is too much trouble for her and she is a diamond who lights up the whole area with her smile and her knowledge.
She is very talented and very well loved by all staff members of the U.T.C/ minor injuries here at the Cumberland Devonport. 


Thank-you, Merris.


WM William Mukonoweshuro, Consultant Neuroradiologist 

I would like to nominate William Mukonoweshuro. He is an exceptionally hardworking and dedicated neuroradiology consultant who has spearheaded the introduction of thrombectomy for acute stroke at this hospital. This procedure is one of the most effective interventions of all therapies in the whole of medicine, and stroke is the second commonest global cause of death, so this is a really important therapeutic area.

He initially, with another fantastic colleague Will Adams (now retired but who would deserve similar acknowledgement), did an “ghost” rota on a 1 in 2 basis (in addition to their usual on-call) to help get this treatment off the ground. 

William continues to work ceaselessly to expand the service, and to ensure all patients regardless of where they live in the South West can access the therapy. Now over 50% of all patients are coming from other trusts, and we offer equitable care across the peninsula. 

It is important to realise that removal of a blood clot from an artery within the brain is a complex and time critical intervention which can carry significant risk. It consequently requires a high level of skill, expertise and bravery to undertake. Medicine is a team game, and this treatment is now delivered by a group of excellent neuroradiologists, anaesthetists, radiographers, nurses, technicians and other clinical and non-clinical staff. 

Nonetheless it is notable that William has consistently advocated and developed this service for well over a decade. He has led from the front, and done so with a good humour that has encouraged and motivated others. I therefore think he is a good role model and his dedication and professionalism deserves particular recognition. 

Thank-you, William.


Kyeiyanne James, Associate Practitioner 

Kyeiyanne James Kyeiyanne is our first BAME network chair. She set up the network and has engaged staff from all staff groups within the hospital, the Medical School, Plymouth University and beyond. Kyeiyanne's passion and dedication to the role, coupled with her authentic approach, honesty and ability to navigate through some very difficult and sensitive issues whilst still remaining true to herself and her beliefs have been truly inspiring.

I would like to thank Kyeiyanne and expression my sincere appreciation for her hard work, dedication and committment. 

Thank-you, Kyeiyanne.

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Black History Month 2021 Nominees- Week 3

Louise Kinsella, Deputy Ward Mananger in Dematology

Louise Kinsella Please read the three different nominations for Louise:

I can not speak highly enough of the support and resilience Louise has shown since joining our team. Whether supporting her colleagues, or providing the best possible experience for the patients in her care, she always gives 110%. She continually strives to achieve excellence and improve the patient journey, and her dedication to achieve this, often sees her going above and beyond by working outside of her normal working hours. Louise’s positive work ethic in combination with her sheer drive, grit and determination has recently seen her successfully achieving promotion into the deputy manager position. She has been a welcome addition to the management team and I am personally grateful for her passionate “can do” attitude, and her enthusiastic, proactive approach.  Louise consistently demonstrates excellent leadership qualities and identifies areas for improvement which complement our service. She is admired by the entire team for how tirelessly she works, and how committed she is to empower, develop and motivate others, to reach our shared objectives and provide a positive patient experience. 


Louise is a very enthusiastic, caring nurse who since she joined our department has taken an active role in improving the department, and making the experience better for patients as well as working very hard to learn new skills to help out the department. She is very good at advocating for patients and being supportive through what can be an anxious time for them. 


Louise is a very positive, hardworking and pro-active nurse. 
She always helps out when clinics are busy. She always has a smile on her face! 

Thank-you, Louise.


Joshy Varghese, Trust Doctor in Neurology

Joshy has provided an incredible stable presence on the neurology ward throughout the pandemic despite vulnerable family at home. This has meant being separated from his children at times in order to ensure their safety so that he continued working. He was unable to visit his dying father in India or attend his funeral last year. Yet despite all of this adversity he has remained cheerful and professional, providing excellent care to our patients without any of them knowing his personal sacrifices to provide that care. 

Thank-you, Joshy.

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