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New BAME network to support Swansea Bay health board staff

BAME network

Above: Healthcare chaplain Shakirah Mannan, graduate trainee manager Nia Leather, recovery nurse Rose Nasinda, head of value-based health care Navjot Kalra, Director of Workforce and OD Hazel Robinson and theatre nurse Rosina Boglo.

A new Black and Minority Ethnic network has been set up to raise cultural understanding, improve staff support and boost patient care across Swansea Bay health board.

It was launched during a Black History Month event to celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity at Morriston Hospital.

Kay Myatt, head of learning and organisational development, said: “The network has been set up largely due to staff demand. 

“They saw the great work of other networks, like our LGBT+ group Calon, and wanted to do something similarly positive for BAME staff at the health board.

“We know that diversity has increased in the area our health board covers, with an estimated 10 per cent of the population being BAME in Swansea and 2.5 per cent in Neath Port Talbot.

“If we want to treat all people – staff and patients - with dignity and respect, then we need to understand the differences between all cultures.

“By having a network like this, people from different communities can help us learn how best to treat a more diverse range of people as individuals and our staff can be supported to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work.”

Morriston Hospital theatre nurse Rosina Boglo and recovery staff nurse Rose Nasinda, along with Navjot Kalra, head of value-based health care, have played key roles in getting the network started. 

Rose and Rosina say the group will not just support BAME staff at work, but help employees deal with any cultural changes that come with moving to a new country.

Rose said: “We wanted a support group for everyone who identifies as a minority and needs to settle into a new culture and job too.

“When we came to Swansea, about 15 years ago, there were only a few people from Africa in the trust. 

“Now we want it to be an easier transition for colleagues employed in the future so they know where to buy the kinds of food they want, for example.”

Rosina added, “This is about supporting people and making sure they can share their beliefs and cultural norms.

“We want to bring more hardworking, dedicated people to the health board from across the world, and be part of this family.”

Speaking at the event, Navjot said Swansea, as a city of sanctuary, and Swansea Bay University Health Board had made her feel accepted and she hoped the network would do the same for other employees.

Navjot said: “Having a diversity network like this will open up the dialogue around race in the workplace. 

“This is something many people in the UK are not comfortable talking about, and staff networks like this give leaders and employees an opportunity to talk about these issues.

“They can also have a significant impact on BAME employees’ progression, including more representation in senior management roles.”

Hazel Robinson, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “The NHS draws staff from all over the world, and we want to be mindful of their cultures across all sectors.

“Through the leadership of people who step forward, we can raise the cultural diversity of the board and better understand what it means to each individual.”

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