Strategic thinking forum 8 December 2015


15 / 12 / 2015 10.31am

The last meeting of the strategic thinking forum for 2015 focused on the specific needs of under-represented groups. 

Speakers from inside the NHS

Buket Gundogan from University College London shared her work involving prospective medical students from East London. She spoke about three key barriers including:

  • financial
  • social 
  • adequate preparation for the medical school recruitment processes. 

She explained how she had developed a one day masterclass to help students prepare and she also plans to measure the impact of the masterclass.

The second speaker was Kirk Lower, Health Education England (HEE). She outlined the work being undertaken to widening participation. In particular, how the HEE would continue to use their workforce and education commissioning leverage responsibility with strategic partnership working to ensure that progression is based upon a person’s merit, ability and motivation and not their social background or their privilege, extent and effectiveness of their social networks.

The last speaker of the morning was Clare Owen, MSC Widening Participation Lead & Policy Advisor, Medical Schools Council. She highlighted available data on the demographics of medical students in the UK confirming that students from a lower socio-economic background are under-represented in medical schools. She recommended the need to undertake more work to identify geographical areas across the UK where young people do not have access to outreach programmes run by medical schools. 

Speakers outside of the NHS

Claire England from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP who shared her work involving nine law firms, who collaborated to arrange and host ‘DiversCity’; a unique recruitment event aimed at raising awareness of pursuing a legal career in the city among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students at degree and postgraduate level.

The final speaker was Gillian Smith, Deputy Director and Head of Civil Service Fast Stream and Fast Track, Civil Service Resourcing. She highlighted the Talent Action Plan: Removing the ‘Barriers to Success (refreshed in March 2015) which focused on promoting an inclusive workforce that encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply and work for the Civil Service. In particular the Positive Action Pathway Programme which has resulted in an impressive 25 per cent successful promotion rate. Plans are in place to quadruple the number of available places to over 10,00 participants during 2015/16.

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