I’m just back to work today after a week off and have been catching up on a week’s worth of emails in amongst my meetings.
This week started with International Women’s Day on Monday when we celebrated the 4,286 amazing women who are part of #TeamDCHS. Although women dominate our trust workforce, as they do in the NHS nationally, we are still under-represented at the most senior levels of the NHS nationally and locally and the NHS still has a stubborn gender pay gap that reflects this. There is clearly still lots of work to do to achieve true gender equality within the health service and the society we are such an important part of.
We have also had the NHS Staff Survey published this week (completed during 2020) and there is lots to celebrate in our results – with more of us responding than ever before. More of us would recommend our Trust as a place to receive treatment than colleagues at any other community trust nationally. We also reported the highest level of overall morale and the highest levels of satisfaction and confidence in equality, diversity and inclusion within the organisation amongst our peer group, along with a significant increase in the proportion of us recommending the Trust as a place to work. The only area where we reported less positively than other similar organisations was around team working and we will need to do some more work to try and understand what this is about and how we can support everyone to be, and feel, part of an engaging and effective team.
The positive feedback on inclusion and equality was supported by our comparative results in the National Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES) for 2020 that have also recently been published where we were the best performing organisation nationally on BME staff reporting harassment, bullying or abuse from patients or colleagues, along with feeling that the Trust provides equal opportunities for career progression or promotion.
So lots of positives to celebrate and reflect on about the culture we have worked to create within DCHS.
It is important though that we don’t forget that the majority’s experience of what it feels like to work here, whatever our gender, race or other characteristics we have, is still not consistently experienced by everyone. We know from the WRES information that we perform very poorly in terms of likelihood of BME applicants being appointed from shortlisting compared to white applicants. And we can see from the staff survey results where so many people generously took the time to provide narrative feedback – that far too many people still don’t feel included, supported, valued, engaged. So our focus has to continue on working together to achieve this consistently for everyone. We will be working with as many colleagues as we can to follow up on the reported results to develop our organisation-wide action plan. But change will continue to happen not just through policies and organisational plans and strategies but one conversation at a time – up, down and across the organisation, individual teams and services. It’s something we all have a responsibility for in the way we interact with each other every day – acting kindly, feeling safe to challenge and raise concerns that are affecting our ability to be the best we can be, and working with managers to address issues (and to have a clear explanation in cases where this might not be possible).
Coming through the year we have and all that has been asked of, and given by, us I hope we can feel very proud of the positive culture we’ve maintained and strengthened. It’s an enormous credit to everyone’s energy, efforts and values.
With very best wishes,
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
Ash Green Learning Disability Centre
T: 01629 817892
M: 07525 174113