The AHSN Network is backing a new network for NHS leaders from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Launched by the NHS Confederation, the BME Leadership Network will work with national and front-line leaders to increase diversity and inclusivity in the NHS.
One of the founding members is Richard Stubbs, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, who said:
“I am delighted to support the new BME Leaders Network. I believe that diversity of leadership at all levels enables diversity of thinking and that helps to create and spread innovations, which is what AHSNs are about.”
The network will be a prominent voice on equality, diversity and inclusion and will publish a range of reports and other activities. The first report, to be published in April, will examine falling diversity among chair and non-executive roles on the Boards of NHS organisations.
The AHSN Network will be sponsoring events and supporting other key activities such as publications and engagement with leaders locally and nationally.
The network was launched with keynote speeches from NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens; Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary at the Royal College of Nursing; and Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London.
NHS Confederation Chief Executive Niall Dickson said: “Diversity in leadership is not an optional extra, it is essential for the future of the NHS. Despite various pledges, there are already signs that the NHS is struggling to meet its equality and diversity ambitions.
“For too long we have had fine rhetoric but too little action – and it has to start at the top. That is what the BME Leadership Network will set out to deliver.
“The goals of the Long Term Plan will not be achieved without significant progress in equality, diversity and inclusion, both in the treatment of patients and of our staff. It is of course about fairness, but it is also about good governance and improving the quality of patient care and staff engagement.”
The network will meet three times a year and will be co-chaired by Danielle Oum, Chair of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, and Ifti Majid, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Healthcare.
It will offer opportunity and space for BME leaders, including chief executives and non-executives to come together to:
- improve understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion and publish the benefits to help deliver better care for all
- improve and sustain the number of BME leaders working in the NHS
- profile the diverse range of BME leaders delivering solutions across the health and care system.
Anyone who would like to find out more and to get involved in the network should email Joan Saddler, associate director at the NHS Confederation and co-chair of the NHS Equality and Diversity Council, at Joan.Saddler@nhsconfed.org.