Chief nursing officer’s BME strategic advisory group to set up regional networks

Regional advisory networks for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) issues are to be established in England in a bid to increase understanding of local concerns.
Laura Serrant

A group of eminent nurses who champion black and minority ethnic (BME) nurses and patients in England is setting up a series of regional networks in a bid to increase understanding of local concerns.

Laura Serrant, group chair of the chief nursing officer for England’s black and
minority ethnic strategic advisory group. Picture: Barney Newman

Mentoring and development opportunities offered by the chief nursing officer’s black and minority ethnic (BME) strategic advisory group will be devolved to new regional committees, while the national group will focus on governance and building an overall picture of issues affecting BME staff and patients.

Increased regional presence

Group chair Laura Serrant – who took up the post in July – told Nursing Standard: ‘We’ll be increasing regional presence rather than only having group meetings in London.

‘We will then have an executive committee, with the regional representatives,’ she added, explaining that input from across the country would allow for a more informed understanding of inequality and representation issues in different areas.

‘London is only one area. Settlement is different to the north east, where people might move to in the long-term, or in the south east immigration is mainly around ports and the borders. 

‘It's not the case that one size fits all.’

In place by 2018

The changes are set to be in place by the end of the year.

Until recently, the group was known as the chief nursing officer’s BME advisory group.

‘It seems subtle, but it’s because our advice is now much more formal, in terms of its use relating to strategy,’ Professor Serrant said of the name change.

Professor Serrant will host the group’s conference on 27 October in London.

Keynote speakers

There, she will perform one of her own poems, focusing on the conference title of workforce, globalisation and inclusion.

Keynote speakers will include England's chief nursing officer Jane Cummings, and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Four workshops will focus on communication, preparation for personal development, Brexit, and perinatal and infant mental health.

Stigmatised issue

Professor Serrant said of the latter: ‘When talking about migration, different communities and displaced people, people may be coming from somewhere where mental health is a stigmatised issue, and not recognised.

‘Perinatal mental health is a big element of health and well-being for infant and mother, and it may be something not recognised as a health condition within different communities. 

‘Migrants may also not be aware of the range of services available here in England.’

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