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Prioritising Equality for the NHS of the future

5 August 2021


We hear from Dr Navina Evans, CEO of Health Education England, on why the needs of minority ethnic and diaspora staff must be met in order to build a stronger, fairer NHS.

The last year has been uniquely challenging.

Globally, Covid-19 has tragically killed millions and left millions more trying to recover from their experiences. We have all been challenged, personally and professionally, especially those working in healthcare, caring tirelessly for patients in circumstances none of us could have imagined.

The Black Lives Matter protests of last summer birthed a social movement which continues to inspire communities to demand change. The pandemic amplified social injustice and inequality, but the pandemic didn’t cause them, they were already there.

We can’t allow this moment of shared suffering and collective challenge to pass without trying to mould our future, a collective approach to building a better and fairer world. Our membership of the global healthcare community makes us central to meeting that challenge.

Which is why this report is both timely and important.

Having sponsored a health partnership when I led the East London Foundation Trust, I’ve long believed in the transformative opportunity of global work for NHS people and the benefit it can bring to their organisations.

This report highlights excellent practice, including NHS England and NHS Improvement supporting diaspora networks, and Health Education England using overseas volunteering to develop NHS staff as part of our Improving Global Health through Leadership Development Programme.

Engaging and supporting colleagues from minority ethnic backgrounds and the diaspora has always been central to a stronger, fairer NHS. Moving forward, ensuring the NHS benefits from the strengths, experience, and perspectives these colleagues can bring to leadership roles is a challenge we must meet.

As recommended here, I pledge HEE will work with partners to ensure we better meet the needs of minority ethnic and diaspora staff and learners, because it is the right thing to do, and the NHS needs us all to do it better.

This post was written by:

Dr Navina Evans - CEO, Health Education England


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