The 20 best-performing NHS hospital trusts on equality and diversity have been named as part of an initiative aimed at encouraging best practice across the health service.
NHS Employers, which represents hospitals on workforce issues, said the high achievers will act as equality and diversity partners, aiming to ensure best practice filters down to all hospitals.
The trusts were selected on the basis of their strategic equality and diversity projects and provision of staff training to raise awareness of the issues involved.
Speaking at the launch of the 12-month initiative, equality and diversity managers outlined the projects they set up which have gained them recognition.
Swarnjit Singh, diversity and employment manager at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, spoke of a pioneering work placement Scheme offering 80 placements to local students and the unemployed – 40 of which have since secured employment with the trust.
He said: “In terms of the people using it they have gained confidence and the skills to get back into the workplace.”
Serge Mootoo, equality and diversity lead at Yeovil District Hospital – where staff are drawn from 40 different nationalities – told Personnel Today about the ‘iCare’ programme, promoting effective communication, positive attitudes, respect for staff and a great working environment.
Infiltrating all aspects of the organisation from staff inductions to the lanyards they wear around their necks on a daily basis, he said ‘iCare’ hadbecome the “heart” of the organisation.
“The programme has significantly improved the working environment at Yeovil. Communication is now better within the organisation, and the staff survey shows that bullying and harassment has also improved,” he said.
Meanwhile, Andrea Derbyshire, equality and diversity manager at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital spoke of a new anti-bullying scheme launched last month, using trained volunteers to talk impartially to those affected before HR help is sought.
Speaking to the top 20 at the launch, Alastair Henderson, joint acting director of NHS Employers, said: “We acknowledge that the NHS isn’t always terribly good at spreading good practice.
“We want to help spread the good practice that is going on in your organisations more widely across the NHS.”
Last week an NHS trust HR director was at the centre of an ageist recruitment scandal after telling a 56-year-old worker she was too old to apply for a job at the trust.