28 / 01 / 2009
NHS South West
Plymouth Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT) is the lead NHS organisation in Plymouth, responsible for providing and purchasing health services that meet the needs of local people and improve the future health of our population. In April 2003 it gained teaching status.
The PCT provides community based health services such as GP, Dentist, nursing, rehabilitation, learning disabilities and mental health services and inpatient services in rehabilitation and acute mental health.
It serves a population of over 250,000 and employs around 2,600 staff working from over 50 sites across the city. It has responsibility for the city's 45 GP practices.
Since the PCT introduced the diversity steering group in 2005, there have been a number of changes in the equality and diversity field, including additional legislative duties and national targets, such as Standards for Better Health. This has created a more comprehensive and challenging agenda.
About 20 people sit on the diversity steering group, from different areas of the organisation. The PCT also works in partnership with voluntary sector groups, such as the Plymouth and District Racial Equality Council and the Plymouth Disability Action Network.
To improve the overall effectiveness of this existing group and develop a robust framework for mainstreaming this agenda, a review took place. One of the recommendations of the review was to identify a network of 'diversity inclusion champions' within each area of the PCT. The purpose of the champions would be to ensure that equality and diversity is core to service delivery and employment.
The champions have a particular focus on age, disability, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and belief. However, over time the network will work towards adopting a more inclusive approach, which focuses on the individual rather than characteristics.
The network of diversity Inclusion champions will help the trust meet its following objectives:
- develop a vision of health and well-being with the people of Plymouth based on genuine patient and public involvement that also recognises and celebrates the diversity of the city's population, and
- work in partnership to reduce health inequalities in the city.
Over a three month period the champions were selected from different areas across the PCT. This was achieved by writing to all directors and asking them to nominate a champion within their area. To ensure that was achieved and to get 'buy in' at a senior level the requirement to nominate was mandatory. The letter was signed off by the chief executive and assistant director of governance, it also included the new terms of reference of the network and a profiles of the role of 'diversity inclusion champion.
In total 22 champions were recruited. The champions attended an half-day induction session, which covered an overview of equality and diversity, what their roles would involve and what the priorities would be. The chair of the Pct presented the champions with a role profile, equality and diversity resource guide and a certificate outlining minimum standards.
The network is chaired by the non executive lead for equality and diversity which gives it extra credibility.
The network has been publicised through various internal and external newsletters as well as the PCTs induction handbook and it is covered in the equality and diversity training session.
The network has developed a yearly work programme so that it can demonstrate progress and measure its success. The network meets six times a year, where updates are given and progress is reviewed.
The network is accountable to the PCTs board and will be presenting a report twice a year providing details of progress against targets and future development plans.
A full review of the network will take place in October 2008 to assess its progress and impact.
Angela Saxby, Equality & Diversity Lead Angela.Saxby@pcs-tr.swest.nhs.uk