Hospitals across West Yorkshire and Harrogate pledge support to anti-racism movement

The six acute hospital trusts across West Yorkshire and Harrogate - known as WYAAT; West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts - have reaffirmed their support to the anti-racism movement; Root Out Racism.
man stood against wall

'It's vitally important to speak out'

This comes at a time when we, as one of the largest collective employers across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, believe it’s vitally important to speak out and demonstrate our shared anti-racist and anti-discriminatory stance.

As part of the National Health Service, we would not be able to provide the care we do to over 2.7 million people without the hard work and commitment of all our colleagues, many of which are from minority ethnic backgrounds.  At times such as these we want to ensure they feel supported and their contribution, which often comes at great personal sacrifice for those that have moved from oversees to join the NHS, is fully recognised.

Across our hospitals we work consistently to ensure that we value the contribution that every single person makes, irrespective of their background. 

Speaking in his position as Medical Lead for WYAAT, Dr Sal Uka, who is also a Consultant Paediatrician at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Following the online racial abuse faced by three young and black England footballers recently, I know that many of our staff will have been affected by the disgraceful actions of those who perpetrated the abuse.  The saddest part for me, and I do not believe I am alone in this, was the inevitability of the abuse taking place.  That is why it’s so important that as a group of hospitals we continue to do all we can root out racism and prejudice from society.

This is not about being ‘woke’; it’s about doing the right thing and contributing to positive change. We have all seen the support the footballers received following the abuse and I think that shows the majority of people are prepared to stand strong in the face of racism. We are no different at WYAAT; we stand together against racism and discrimination in all its forms and fully support the work of Root out Racism.
— Dr Uka

'A wide variety of iniatives'

Across all our hospitals we operate a wide variety of initiatives to ensure that all our employees feel valued, listened to, and have access to a network of support. 

At Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, a Reciprocal Mentoring Programme was introduced two years ago.  This initiative sees minority ethnic colleagues mentor Board members as learning partners, and vice versa.  Reciprocal mentoring is a valuable opportunity for both sides to share skills, advice, and experiences, and to understand each other’s perspective.  Following its success, the programme has now been broadened for 2021 to include any colleagues with a protected characteristic.

Commenting on the programme, Joanne Harrison, Director of People and Organisational Development at Airedale NHS FT, said: 

“We know, having run a programme for reciprocal mentoring previously, that there is a real need, not only to offer support and development to our minority ethnic colleagues, but also for the senior team to understand how it feels to work here at Airedale.  

“Our people told us that minority ethnic colleagues were having a different and worse experience than other staff groups and this was also reflected for colleagues with other protected characteristics.  So, the aim of the programme is to understand those experiences and tackle, where possible, the root causes. 

I know from my own experience, and from similar initiatives at other trusts across WYAAT, that sharing these lived experiences is powerful, and is the best way to lead to real and enduring change.
— Joanne Harrison

Root Out Racism is a movement supported by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.  It is due to officially launch next month and will aim to tackle structural and institutionalised racism as well as health and social inequalities.

All organisations are encouraged to join the movement.  You can sign up for FREE resources, ready for the launch in August, by following this link:  https://bit.ly/3zmxEGd

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