RUH flies the flag

(The Rainbow Steel Band, playing outside the RUH)

The start of Black History Month is being celebrated at the RUH by raising a flag outside the front of the hospital.

The flag, with the Pan-African colours of red, yellow and green, represents the RUH’s recognition of the contributions of Black people to healthcare and beyond, and a pledge to continue to value diversity in the workforce and in the community.

Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks was joined by staff for the ceremony, as Inclusion Ambassadors Sherron Watson and Alvina Ware raised the flag accompanied by music from local group Rainbow Steel Band.

From left, Inclusion Ambassador Alvina Ware, Equality and Diversity Officer Gayle Williams, Inclusion Ambassador Sherron Watson, and Research Nurse Joyce Katebe.

Cara said: “One of the best things about working in the NHS is the diverse range of backgrounds our colleagues come from, including many different ethnicities and nationalities. I firmly believe our diversity makes us stronger, and can positively influence the care we provide.

“Black people have made, and continue to make, an incredible impact on the NHS and that’s something we should recognise and celebrate each and every day.

“I was really proud to be there as we raised our flag as a way of celebrating our diversity, but also to demonstrate our commitment to continue improving opportunities for staff from ethnic minorities.”

Black History Month takes place annually throughout October and is intended to recognise the contribution and achievements of people with African or Caribbean heritage. It’s also an opportunity for people to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes.

More than 13% of RUH staff are from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background, and that proportion is represented at Board level too.

Equality and Diversity Officer Gayle Williams said: “We’ve got a lot to be proud of, including our thriving Fusion staff network celebrating diversity from all cultures, and our recent improvements to the percentage of Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff at senior levels.

“But, we’ve got ambitions to be even better, and we are working on initiatives that will support even more staff to further progress in their careers.”

Other activities taking place during October’s Black History Month include staff-curated displays celebrating Black history and culture and the unveiling of a new piece of art in the hospital’s main entrance, which celebrates the contribution of Black people to the NHS.

The RUH is also supporting a free regional online conference for both staff and the public, with guest speakers on the line-up including historian and writer David Olusoga, presenter and campaigner June Sarpong, and former professional footballer Anton Ferdinand.