Adam Doyle is accountable officer for the Central Sussex and East Surrey Commissioning Alliance and also the Coastal West Sussex CCG. Adam started his career as a physiotherapist and has held a number of senior healthcare roles over the past ten years. In this blog, Adam talks about the importance of Pride, and how both organisations and staff can benefit from being involved.
Pride is something that is of enormous importance to me, both personally and professionally. As someone who is proud to be gay, it is extremely satisfying to see such an inclusive celebration that is enjoyed by thousands of people. We still have a long way to go as a society in regards to equality and diversity but, for me, the way people embrace Pride is a symbol of optimism that we are heading in the right direction.
Of course, I am also professionally invested in Pride as the accountable officer for Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group. Pride is such an important event for the city and a lot of planning takes place among the public services to ensure it can take place in the best possible way. As an organisation, we take an active role in this planning and work hard to ensure that health services are fully prepared for, and can cope with, the large influx of people. Last year, services coped really well, which was thanks to the preparation that had taken place and the way in which all support organisations had worked so well together.
The benefits of supporting Pride are both operational and related to our role within the local community. NHS services are busier than they have ever been and, as an organisation, we have to work really hard along with our partners to ensure patients continue to get high quality care. Whenever there is large numbers of people coming to the city, we often see spikes in the levels of demand on services, which not only directly affects those services but also has knock-on effects to others. We usually see a sharp increase in demand over the Pride weekend and the days afterwards and if we do not have robust plans in place to prepare for this then it can negatively affect how services perform for weeks afterwards. We have a responsibility to our patients to make sure this does not happen and, of course, we also want to make sure that we maintain the high standards of performance that we set ourselves.
Alongside this operational responsibility, we also have a responsibility to be an integral part of our city. Like everywhere, the NHS is such an important and loved element of our local area and, as such, we should and need to play an active role within our community.
For some of our staff, Pride represents a lot of hard work. Like all the major events within the city, we have to work really hard before, during and afterwards to help make sure it goes smoothly. But, alongside this, many of our staff take part in Pride because it's personally important to them. We try to recognise and celebrate this as an organisation and this year we will be broadening this out by taking the opportunity to focus on inclusion as a whole within our workforce. This is something we take extremely seriously and we will be using Pride as a catalyst by which we can have open conversations with staff about equality and diversity and areas we may need to improve.
I strongly feel that providing opportunities to have these kind of conversations is very important, as it helps to create an open and transparent culture among our staff, which can positively impact their morale and sense of belonging to the organisation. We also have staff who volunteer to help with the running of Pride, so it really is a big deal for everyone working at the organisation.
In terms of patients, unfortunately everyone who attends Pride is a potential patient. Like all big gatherings, the chances are that there will be a proportion of people who will need some kind of medical attention at some point. What we try to do is make sure these people have their needs met as soon as possible, so it doesn’t escalate into them having to go to hospital. We provide a lot of information about what people should do if they do need help and the most appropriate services that are available to them. This ensures they get the right care and means hospital services are not overwhelmed and can continue to care for other patients.