The NHS on the Isle of Wight is celebrating Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week 2012 which runs from 21st to 25th May.
The week, organised by the NHS Employers organisation, shines a light on the ongoing work across the NHS to ensure that it continues to meet the diverse needs of local populations and is a place where staff from all backgrounds will want to work. It is a chance for NHS organisations across the country to promote their achievements in this area, showing how they make equality part of everything they do, improving the quality of services for patients and the working lives of staff.
Liz Nials, Equality and Diversity Lead at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: There are many excellent examples of work that is happening locally in the NHS to create a fairer more inclusive service for everyone. NHS Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week is an important opportunity to share and celebrate this work.” Some examples of the types of work being carried out on the island are listed below:
• Read Vitalise -Rachel McKernan, Health Improvement Specialist for Public Health received an award in January at the House of Lords for her commitment to raising mental health literacy and challenging stigma and discrimination towards those with experience of Mental Health problems. Read Vitalise is a new reading group specifically for people who have experience of depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems, it aims to provide a safe and secure place for people to come together to share the pleasure of reading or to inspire each other to try something new.
• Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) -To date the NHS on the Island has trained 476 people in adult and youth mental health first aid and the public health department has just commissioned the Island’s health trainer service to continue to deliver MHFA as well as providing training to skill another 10 instructors from the Island in partnership with the Rural Community Centre (RCC). They have also just provided the course to prisons at HMP IOW. The aim is reduce stigmatising attitudes on the IOW and to ensure that in a mental health crisis patients receive the support, care and empathy they deserve.
• Equality Delivery System Self Assessment – Equality legislation requires public sector organisations to be transparent about information on which they base their decisions. The purpose of an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) is to ensure that the work of the organisation does not discriminate and that, where possible, equality is promoted. Equality Impact Assessments are a tool which will enable us to look at what we are doing or are planning to do and to identify if there are any potential barriers for people accessing our services.
• Volunteers who play a key part in many areas of St. Mary’s Hospital are a prime example of Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s commitment to Equality, Diversity and Human Rights and above all, add value to the ‘patient experience’. Some of the volunteers are based in the Accident and Emergency Department and provide support to patients or their loved ones and carers who may be worried and anxious by listening, empathising and providing reassurance with them. Richard Dent, Volunteer Co-ordinator for Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “The volunteers are recruited from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. We pride ourselves in being totally inclusive – concentrating on what the individual can do, rather than what they can’t do (removing the obstacles and labels they may have experienced previously in society).”
• LGBT Newsletter – ‘Out and About’ is the local community newsletter for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community, produced by the Sexual Health Service and widely available on the Island.
• Patients with a Disability Working Group -The Patients with a Disability Group was formed in 1997 aimed at improving access and facilities at St. Mary’s Hospital for people with a disability. Its remit has since been extended to include all PCT services Island-wide. The group consists of patient representatives, voluntary agencies such as IW Society for the Blind and Sound Advice, PCT managers and clinical staff. The Trust allocates an annual £10,000 budget for schemes recommended by the group to improve access and facilities for disabled people, plus capital funding for larger projects meeting Disability Discrimination Act requirements. The Group makes sure we are doing our very best to ensure we are not disadvantaging disabled people in any way. You can view a film about the group who won the ‘Health Improvement and Reducing Inequality’ award sponsored by Clarke’s Mechanical, in November 2011 at the NHS Isle of Wight Awards, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL5Nzduyl_E&feature=youtu.be
Dean Royles, Director of NHS Employers, said: “The NHS Employers organisation is delighted to be coordinating Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week. It allows us to take the success of our annual equality and diversity conference to a wider audience and to highlight the fantastic work that NHS organisations are doing every day to ensure a personal, fair and diverse NHS.”
Find out more on the NHS Employers: www.nhsemployers.org/equalityweek2012 website link.
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