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Yvonne Coghill: Implementing an evidence-based approach to workforce race equality

​Demonstrable leadership, an effective communications strategy and celebrating your successes are essential to embedding inclusion and equality in NHS organisations, says NHS England's Yvonne Coghill.

Demonstrable leadership, an effective communications strategy and celebrating your successes are essential to embedding inclusion and equality in NHS organisations, says NHS England's Yvonne Coghill 

race
Inclusion and equality in the NHS are of growing importance. Picture: iStock

Last summer, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Sir Andrew Cash invited me to the trust to help develop a system-wide strategic approach to implementing race equality in the organisation. 

The evidence-based strategy I followed was based on research from 2015 led by Naomi Priest, a senior research fellow in health inequalities at the University of Melbourne in Australia. 

Best practice

The research paper, Promoting equality for NHS ethnic minority staff, looked at the international evidence on how discrimination should be tackled, and showcased best practice for improving workforce race equality.

It detailed a strategy, to be implemented over a substantial period of time, based on the following steps: 

  • Demonstrable leadership and direction
  • Metrics and accountability
  • Communications strategy
  • Resources for the work
  • Role models and networks
  • Celebration of success. 

At the annual NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool on 14-15 June, I ran a workshop on the work I had carried out in Sheffield, underlining the importance of implementing the strategy consistently over a long period of time to fully embed it into the system and ensure sustainability of the programme. 

The high profile the work was given at the conference highlights the growing importance of inclusion and equality in the NHS, and how race equality is essential to a healthy, happy workforce and the delivery of quality patient care.


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

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