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BME leadership forum examines NHS reforms

The NHS Confederation’s BME leadership forum recently gathered over 60 delegates from across the health sector to discuss how the proposed NHS reforms might impact on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, patients and staff.

Hosted by the NHS Confederation’s BME leadership forum and in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), our Equity and Excellence for all? What the NHS reforms mean for BME communities, patients and staff event on 4 March provided a unique opportunity to explore a range of issues the reforms present, with a focus on BME groups. 

Chaired by Professor Carol Baxter CBE, head of equality and diversity at the NHS Employers organisation, the day featured key speakers from both the public and voluntary sector. 

  • Nigel Edwards, the NHS Confederation’s acting chief executive, provided an insightful overview of the reforms, their key opportunities and risks
  • Patrick Vernon, chief executive of the Afiya Trust discussed the transformations in health and social care in relation to BME communities
  • Dr Omar Khan, senior research and policy analyst at the Runnymede Trust examined current and future considerations of increasing ethnic diversity in the UK with regard to health and social care
  • Dr Nola Ishmael OBE, deputy director of Nursing at Brent Community Service presented on the access of BME staff to senior positions within the NHS.

Opportunities and challenges

Delegates discussed in depth how the reconfigurations to the health system may affect BME communities, patients and staff and what role the BME leadership forum can play at this time of momentous change.

The afternoon’s discussions, lead by Jagtar Singh, non-executive director, Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Yvonne Coghill, national programme lead, Breaking Through Programme and Christine McKenzie, learning and development facilitator at the RCN, highlighted a number of work areas for the forum to take forward over the coming months including:

Liberating the NHS and BME communities

  • influencing and integrating BME issues within the quality agenda
  • engaging with GP consortia and the NHS Confederation’s networks
  • disseminating good practice.

Liberating the NHS and BME patients

  • ensuring BME issues are on the agenda for GP commissioning consortia and providing guidance when negotiating contracts
  • engaging with organisations such as Monitor, the Care Quality Commission, HealthWatch and Pathfinder consortia. 

Liberating the NHS and BME staff

  • exploring how employers can engage with the Department of Health
  • mainstreaming of BME issues.

Download presentations from the day.

BME leadership forum next steps

New chair sought

The BME leadership forum was founded in 2003 to increase the opportunities for people from BME backgrounds to become influential in the NHS and improve the way the NHS responds to the needs of BME communities. The forum is now looking for a new chair to guide and drive the work of the group and ensure it is effective in meeting its aims.  

Find out more about the role.

Annual conference reception

The forum will be hosting its yearly reception at the NHS Confederation’s Annual Conference and Exhibition from 6 to 8 July in Manchester.

Secure your place.

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