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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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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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Black History Month 2021 Nominees- Week 2

Chris Oppong Mr Chris Oppong, Consultant Surgeon

Chris as a elder in the church helps wide variety of nationals who also runs a successful hernia charity.

Thank-you, Chris.







Shadna Lallchand Shadna Lallchand, Emergency Nurse Practitioner







Nomination 1: Shadna deserves all of the recognition possible. She is such a delight to work 
with and gives 100% at all times, always offering her hand to get involved.

Nomination 2: Shadna has been the back bone of promoting Equality , Diversity and Inclusion. Her passion birthed via conversations 
with others - Staff Networks .She always strives to encourage fairness amongst colleagues through Education. Patients always get the best Shadna - from a meaningful chat to always being ready to help out wherever she can for their best interest . Well done and keep up the great work.


Thank-you, Shadna.

Rez Rogers   Rez Rogers, Healthcare Scientist

  Rez always goes above and beyond for her patients . She always shows compassion to all her 
  patients with a smile despite of the pressures the team may be facing.

  Thank-you, Rez.

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Black History Month 2021 Nominees- Week 1




Aline Uwingabire, Healthcare Assistant

Aline Uwingabire Aline always goes above and beyond for her patients. She puts every patient at ease before major heart surgery. Seeing her interact and communicate with patients and the whole team makes me proud that we have people like her working for our trust and specifically in our department.  

Aline takes on the teaching of new HCA's and is an asset to our team as she makes everyone welcome and joins all new staff into the "team".  

Well done Aline and thank you for being an integral part of our team. 

Thank-you, Aline.





Ruth Scrivener, Learning and Organisational Development Administration Assistant & Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

Ruth Scrivener Ruth is always happy and positive in any dealings that you have with her, she makes you feel like your issue is her top priority. 

It is important in such a fast paced environment, that we are all used to working in, that people pause and actively listen to what you have to say - Ruth embodies this. 

Thank-you, Ruth.




Ibreez Ajaz, Internal Medicine Trainee (CT3), Freedom to Speak Up Guardian & SW BMA Bame Co-Chair

Ibreez Ajaz Ibreez has gone above and beyond to ensure that international doctors and their families have a smooth transition from their home countries to the United Kingdom.

Her activism and dedication within PGMC will definitely benefit others.

Thank-you, Ibreez.

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National NHS Race Equality Strategy Consultation

National NHS Race Equality Strategy Consultation

The National NHS Race Equality Strategy will be published in October 2021.
This five-year strategy aims to establish a standard across operations to advance race equality, eliminate discrimination and foster good relations. We are now consulting, engaging and gathering views.

All NHS workers (regardless of race/profession and including bank & agency workers) have the opportunity to contribute to this work. To begin, we are asking for feedback using a very brief online form. https://forms.office.com/r/gF0BicjRHa

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team

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Are you a colleague from a diverse background who would be willing to tell their story in a powerful and unique way, so that we can learn from your experience and work across the region to improve it?

Are you a colleague from a diverse background who would be willing to tell their story in a powerful and unique way, so that we can learn from your experience and work across the region to improve it?

NHS England and NHS Improvement South West is working with Patient Voices to make some digital stories to help us better understand your experience of working for the NHS in the South West and why you enjoy living and working here. The power of individual stories in raising awareness and engagement with diverse groups and helping organisations and integrated care systems (ICSs) understand and improve staff experience is an integral part of our vision for our colleagues in the South West, where we don’t just accept diversity — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our colleagues, our patients and our community. We want to see a workplace where all our colleagues are pro-equity and our colleagues can bring their whole selves to work.

If you have a story to tell about challenges you have faced and, perhaps, overcome, as a member of staff, please consider sharing your experience so that others can learn important lessons. We are looking for 8 colleagues from diverse backgrounds who would be willing to tell their story in this powerful and unique way, so that we can learn from your experience and work across the region to improve it.

Working with the award-winning Patient Voices Programme, you will attend six, two-hour workshop sessions developing and refining a script, recording a voiceover, selecting images and editing your own short video. Once complete, your story will be available via the Patient Voices website www.patientvoices.org.uk/stories/htm

The workshops will take place during the autumn, with the first session during the week commencing 10 October,  You will need to have a laptop with Zoom capability, including video and audio functions.

If you’d like to see examples of other digital stories created by NHS staff, please go to www.patientvoices.org.uk/dnaoc.htm; if you’d like to see how we anticipate using your stories, please look at the Facilitators’ packs created from similar stories which have been made in the past. Each pack contains a link to stories relevant for that theme.

If you are interested in making your own digital story, please send an expression of interest to england.swedi@nhs.net

If you’d like to find out more about the workshop, please contact Pip Hardy at pip@pilgrimprojects.co.uk or Tony Sumner at tony@pilgrimprojects.co.uk




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Inclusive recruitment and career progression Focus Groups for Band 5&6 - 23 July & 5 August 2021


(Non-Medical) Clinical Staff Invitation

A recent examination of our Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) data in the South West has shown that whilst we have more colleagues from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in Bands 5 compared to local populations, the number drops considerably after Band 5.  We want the South West to be the best place for all of our colleagues to live, work and achieve their career goals, and are committed to having Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Colleagues in all bands in the South West.  We want to understand what the barriers are from your perspective to applying for or gaining promotion beyond your current band.  This is your opportunity to tell us what matters most to you, and what we can do to help you achieve your career ambitions.


We are holding two focus groups to talk to you more about this and to agree what actions we can all take together to make it easier for you to apply for and achieve promotion.


If you would like to book onto 23 July 2021 at 11am to 1.15pm please CLICK HERE


If you would like to book onto 5 August 2021 at 2pm to 4.15pm please CLICK HERE


(Please note, if you do not already have an account with NHS England events you will need to register an account first).



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