THE executive director of a clinical group which decides where NHS funding is spent in Basingstoke has detailed what it already does to support people from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities.

As previously reported in the Gazette, North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) released a statement as part of The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, in response to the Black Lives Matter campaign, which it said “we wholeheartedly support”.

The group vowed to “support our BAME staff members and communities”, adding: “Recent events sparked by the death of George Floyd in America, and the confirmation that Covid-19 is adversely affecting BAME groups have brought into sharp focus the inequalities that continue to exist across the country.

“The health and care organisations working across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are committed to addressing inequalities and tackling discrimination of any kind, both within our organisations and in our local communities.”

The Gazette asked the CCG what it already does to support BAME staff members and communities, and what exactly the new measures will involve.

Responding, Fiona White, executive director of people and development for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of CCGs, said: “The CCGs across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within our organisation and in our local communities.

“In 2015 the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) was introduced into the NHS and we use this to help us understand the experience of our staff from BAME backgrounds and work in partnership with them to take action.”

This has included:

  • Setting up staff partnership forums so staff from all equality groups, including ethnic minorities, have a say in decisions that affect them
  • Undertaking a skills audit and talent management strategy, which has included improving representation of BAME staff at more senior levels in the organisations
  • Working with staff to improve the collection of equality data, to help identify whether different staff grounds have different experiences of recruitment, access to training and opportunities for promotion
  • Promoting new organisational values so that inclusion is part of everyone’s role

Fiona added: “We are currently completing risk assessments with all our employees of BAME backgrounds. These assessments give employees the opportunity to discuss their need and concerns, as well as the reassurance of having an individualised plan to keep them safe no matter what their job role.

“For many years our CCGs have established relationships with local BAME communities in order to understand their needs and issues, and work with them to ensure services are commissioned that reduce barriers and promote equality of access and health outcomes.”