‘It’s high time they were heard’ network launched for BAME staff at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals
- Credit: Archant
A new network for Black, Aisan and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff working at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has been created to support colleagues at a time when race equality is at the very heart of an international discussion.
Louie Horne has been working for the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust for nearly 20 years and now works as a senior matron for Musculoskeletal Services, alongside chairing the new EMBRACE (Equality in Moving Beyond Race) network which launched in May.
“At Ipswich we have always had silos of smaller minority groups but we have never had one network,” she explained. “Before now it just wasn’t prioritised but Covid has brought it to the forefront of our minds, which I am glad about.
“The report which found Covid-19 disproportionately affects BAME people has focused the issue – mentally and emotionally the situation has heightened these feelings.
“There are intense feelings of fear being expressed due to Covid and now suddenly there is a worldwide situation heightening those emotions.”
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The trust employs colleagues from 85 different nationalities and Mrs Horne feels this group has been 20 years in the making, believing it would have helped her when since she moved to the UK from abroad.
She said: “In the Philippines we are very clannish so we often live in a house with five other family members even if we’re adults, so for anyone moving here they could be living alone for the first time.
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“Also many of our staff have tropical weather at home and then they come here to Felixstowe – these things do make a big difference in your life.”
During international recruitment Mrs Horne pairs staff joining the trust from abroad with a buddy for the first six months of their stay in the country.
In the first week the network was informally launched, 200 people said they wanted to join and a webinar in May with trust chief executive, Nick Hulme, attracted 300 people who were keen to know how the network would be supporting them.
“We want to make it a great place for BAME staff to come and work,” Mrs Horne added. “It’s high time they were heard.
“It must be inclusive of all cultural, spiritual, traditional backgrounds and we want to feel staff are included.”