The NHS Employers organisation today announces that 12 organisations, including four newly-established clinical commissioning groups, have been chosen as Equality and Diversity Partners for the NHS for the year ahead.

The Partners were selected by NHS Employers because of their strong equality and diversity programmes and commitment to progress. They will contribute to the NHS Employers programme of work on the issue and will help spread good practice, learning and expertise throughout the NHS for the benefit of staff and patients.

Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, said:

“If you believe in the NHS you know that equality and diversity are essential to its success. Employers recognise the value of supporting staff from all backgrounds and understand the need to be responsive to the communities they serve. The NHS is making really good progress promoting equality and diversity. We know that unacceptable practice can have a negative impact on patient care and we need to take a zero tolerance approach to it.

“The Partners programme isn’t about ticking boxes or political correctness. It’s about helping run the NHS in a professional and fair way and delivering excellent patient care. There is good evidence to show that NHS organisations function better when they support this agenda.

“Each new Partner has worked hard to ensure that equality and diversity is becoming part of the fabric of their organisation. It is especially encouraging to have several newly-established CCGs onboard. Despite grappling with the complexities of establishing new organisations, CCGs recognise that equality and diversity needs to be a top priority.”

The Partners are being announced during the first ever NHS Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week, which takes place from 21-25 May 2012 and includes events throughout England. The Partners are:
1. NHS Bassetlaw (a CCG)
2. NHS Blackburn with Darwen Teaching Care Trust Plus (a CCG)
3. Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT (a CCG)
4. NHS Bury and Clinical Commissioning Group (a CCG)
5. Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust
6. Whittington Health
7. Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust
8. South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
9. Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
10. Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
11. Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust
12. Equality Partners Liverpool Health Economy, consisting of:
a. Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust
b. Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
c. Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

Two examples of trusts work include:

Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (KCCG) and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT employs an award-winning team of health champions who have learning disabilities and lead on improving health outcomes.

Dr Neil Walden, GP, Marazion and locality lead for Penwith, said:

“Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (KCCG) and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are delighted to have been jointly selected to participate in the NHS Equality Partners’ Programme this year. KCCG are committed to reducing health inequalities, improving patient experience, and addressing unmet needs for all of our population. We recognise the inequalities which can be suffered by people from different protected groups. We look forward to sharing our good practice and learning from other organisations as we participate in the programme during the next few months.”

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust scored among the top 20 per cent of acute trusts in the NHS Staff Survey (scoring 93 per cent) on equal opportunities criteria, which it achieves with a wide range of programmes ranging from the strategic to personal level.

David Wood, Director of Organisational Development & Corporate Affairs at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The Trust is extremely pleased at being selected to work in partnership with NHS Employers on this important agenda. Respect and Patient & Customer Focus are key values within the Trust’s performance framework, which links goals and objectives with behaviours in support of Trust values. Delivering on the equality agenda underpins the very principles of these values. We envisage that this development programme will not only build on the great work already being undertaken but will also provide a platform to drive the organisation forward to work to ensuring that every individual employee in this Trust understands and contributes to delivering a fair, personal and diverse service every time.”