Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of black people to society and to the NHS. It also serves as an opportunity to inspire and empower future generations. This year, Black History Month is dedicated to honouring the achievements of black women who are often forgotten.
The theme of ‘Saluting our Sisters’ highlights the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities. Across the NHS events are taking place to showcase and celebrate the work of pioneering black women in health care.
Joan Saddler OBE, director of partnerships and equality, NHS Confederation said; “As we ‘Salute our Sisters’, we celebrate those pioneers from across Britain and the ‘British Empire’ of old, who made the NHS possible. We especially celebrate those who have overcome institutional racism to become its leaders today.
We also acknowledge the huge contribution made by our invisible sisters, undertaking many of the unglamorous and unappreciated jobs in our own workplaces. Let’s take a few minutes to thank them all as a key driving force powering the NHS.”
Sam Allen, chair, Health and Care Women Leaders Network said; “As we celebrate this year's Black History Month with the theme 'Saluting Our Sisters', we're reminded of the significant contributions made by black women in healthcare and the importance of recognising and celebrating their achievements.
The Health and Care Women Leaders Network will continue to honour and support the remarkable black women working in the healthcare sector. They have not only provided essential care but have also been advocates for underrepresented communities, enriching the healthcare sector.
Black History Month is more than just a reflection; it's a call to action. Let's remember the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a future where all women can succeed, regardless of their background."
Black History Month provides an opportunity for leaders to declare that the NHS will not stand for racism going forward. Racism, inequality, injustice within the NHS must be treated as a never-event, not par for the course.
- The NHS Confederation's BME Leadership Network exists to strengthen the voice of NHS BME leaders and to support NHS organisations to meet the needs of all communities. Membership is open to both BME leaders and non-BME supporters. Visit BME Leadership Network to become a member.
- The Workforce Race Equality Standard 2022 report indicated that there is an additional 27,500 BME staff compared to the previous year. Whilst this is positive, the survey also indicated that the percentage of BME staff experiencing harassment, bullying and abuse from patients, relatives and the public had increased and only 44.4 per cent of BME NHS staff believe their trust provides equal opportunities for career progression or promotion.
- The NHS England Equality, Diversity and Inclusion plan seeks to tackle these issues with high impact actions two and six:
- High impact two requires NHS organisations to embed fair and inclusive recruitment processes and talent management strategies that target under-representation and lack of diversity.
- High impact action six requires organisations to create an environment that eliminates the conditions in which bullying, discrimination, harassment and physical violence at work occur. To do this, organisations will be required to review data by protected characteristic, including BME and gender, and set reduction targets by March 2024 and implement a plan to improve the staff experience of these groups.
- The combatting racial discrimination against nurses, midwives and nursing associates resource, published by NHS England, NHS Confederation and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, provides advice on the action you can take if you witness or experience racism. It also supports those in leadership roles to be inclusive leaders.
- Universalise the best: An antiracist model for building healthy communities. The NHS Confederation’s BME Leadership Network is holding its annual lecture on 18 October at the House of Commons with Professor Kevin Fenton and Stephen Timms MP. SOLD OUT.
- Turning intent into Action The NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network is holding its annual conference on 1 November. The event will feature accomplished black women as keynote speakers. They will share insights into their career journeys while educating delegates on the challenges and triumphs faced by black women in their respective fields.
- Saluting our Sisters - Black Women in the NHS - A series of BHM events Hosted by Instinctive Inclusion and taking place 4–19 October 2023.
- North West Ambulance Service’ Race Equality Network and Women's Network collaboration event for Black History Month 5 October, 8.30-5pm.
- Royal College of Nursing South East's Black History Month event 18 October, 9.30-3pm.
- Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and North East and North Cumbria ICB Black History Month 'Saluting Our Sisters' Webinar 20 October 2-4pm
- Royal College of Nursing London Black History Month event 20 October, 9.30–4pm.
- Nottingham University Hospitals Black History Month conference 20 October, 8.30-5pm.
- Unison Black History Month event 20 October, 10.30am-6pm.
- Intergenerational Discussion – Black Female Professors & Black Students A webinar hosted by the University of Bradford and open to all. Taking place 25 October, 1-3pm.
- Visit the official Black History Month website to find out what else is happening during the month.
- Race Equality Matters have shared a wealth of short videos on why the theme ‘Saluting our Sisters’ is so important. There is also a downloadable resource containing 78 ideas and insights for Black History Month activities.
- Shattered Hopes - The NHS Confederation's report into black and minority ethnic leaders’ experiences of breaking the glass ceiling in the NHS. It shares reflections on the lived experience of senior black and minority ethnic leaders in the NHS.
- The NHS Race and Health Observatory (RHO), which is hosted by the NHS Confederation and supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement, has been set up to investigate the impact of race and ethnicity on people’s health.
Organisations are encouraged to run their own local campaign to not only celebrate the achievements of BME staff, but also to educate, raise awareness and help create a more inclusive culture.
Join the conversation on X (formerly Twitter), follow @NHSE_Diversity, @NHSC_BMELeaders, @HCWomenLeaders using hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth #SalutingOurSisters as we join in the celebrations, share stories and resources.
Should you have any queries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org