Healthcare trusts making sure everyone counts!

Published: 3 June 2014

To celebrate national Equality, Diversity and Human Rights week, two local NHS Trusts held their annual Equality Engagement event in Torquay on 15 and 16 May.

The two day event, this year named ‘Making sure everyone counts’, was organised by South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust and was led by their respective Directors of Nursing and Professional Practice, Jane Viner and Dr Bob Brown.

The event enabled members of the local community and representatives from minority groups in the area to get together and discuss important equality and diversity issues surrounding the provision of healthcare services in Torbay and South Devon. It also allowed the group to help evaluate the performance of the trusts against nationally set Equality and Diversity Objectives, known as the Equality Delivery System (EDS).

The four nationally set goals of the Equality Delivery System are: better health outcomes, improved patient access and experience, a representative and supported workforce and inclusive leadership. These goals offer a mechanism for NHS organisations to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and their contributions really count towards the way that EDS policies are delivered locally.

The event proved popular on both days with high attendance numbers from members of the public and local community groups. Groups represented at the event included Healthwatch, Proud2Be, Total Communication Now, Project SEARCH, Shekinah Mission, Robert Owen Communities (ROC), Parents Participation Forum, LGBTransaction, Transfigurations, Speaking Out Torbay (SPOT), Our Community Matters and Torbay Dementia Action Alliance.

Torbay Hospital’s Director of Nursing, Professional Practice and People’s Experience, Jane Viner, stated: “It was wonderful to see so many people at the event and to experience their commitment to supporting the equality and diversity agenda first hand. There was so much energy in the room and I am really looking forward to hearing about the plans the event generated”.

Feedback from attendees on the day has been extremely positive. Barry Wheeler, a member of the public that attended on the day stated: “I thought it was an excellent two days and I am profoundly impressed that such an event should happen at all. I learnt so much and was able to meet some extraordinary people, I found myself humbled by the commitment and humanity displayed by everyone there and really did feel a part of something bigger.”

Carol Steele from Transfigurations, a transgender support group in Devon stated: “I would like to thank both trusts for putting on this event and to congratulate them on being at the forefront of equality and diversity issues.”

Other events showing the trusts support of the national Equality, Diversity and Human rights week, included a Rainbow Laces Day held by Torbay Hospital’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) network group, to help raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic discrimination.

Rainbow Laces Day was a great success with staff from both trusts coming to work in bright clothes and wearing rainbow coloured laces to show support of LGBT individuals and raise awareness of this important issue.