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Nurse leader: This Black History Month let's celebrate diversity in the NHS

As we celebrate Black History Month, let's make positive changes and help shape the diverse NHS workforce of the future, says Yvonne Coghill. 
Celebrate diversity

As we celebrate Black History Month, let's make positive changes and help shape the diverse NHS workforce of the future, says Yvonne Coghill

October is Black History Month, where we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of black people through the ages.

In previous years, we have lauded the achievements of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mary Seacole, to name just a few.

Not all of us are as driven and committed to the cause of equality as Mandela or Mahatma Ghandi, but we can still make changes that will impact positively on the lives of others.

It is well known that black and minority ethnic (BME) people are disproportionately discriminated against, and that their experiences are not as positive as those of white people.

In May, Baroness McGregor Smith was asked by then business secretary Sajid Javid to look into what can be

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As we celebrate Black History Month, let's make positive changes and help shape the diverse NHS workforce of the future, says Yvonne Coghill 

October is Black History Month, where we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of black people through the ages. 

In previous years, we have lauded the achievements of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mary Seacole, to name just a few. 

Not all of us are as driven and committed to the cause of equality as Mandela or Mahatma Ghandi, but we can still make changes that will impact positively on the lives of others. 

It is well known that black and minority ethnic (BME) people are disproportionately discriminated against, and that their experiences are not as positive as those of white people. 

In May, Baroness McGregor Smith was asked by then business secretary Sajid Javid to look into what can be done to improve the experiences of BME people in the business world. 

Look to the future

In August, prime minister Theresa May launched an audit of public services to help end the injustices experienced by people from different backgrounds. 

The NHS’s most precious asset is its staff, many of whom come from overseas. Well-functioning diverse teams improve outcomes, but if people are not cared for, they stop caring. At this difficult time for the NHS, we need all our staff to care.

Showing kindness and compassion to others, regardless of their background, doesn’t cost much. Courteousness and politeness can even be infectious. 

So this Black History Month, as well as celebrating what has been, let’s look to the future - to what we want our world, communities and NHS to be like for generations to come. 


About the author

Yvonne Coghill

Yvonne Coghill (@yvonnecoghill1) is director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard implementation programme at NHS England 
 

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