4 February - non-executive directors

07 February 2022

This week’s webinar opened in conversation with Paul Cleal, non-executive director at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and Nabil Jamshed, head of corporate governance, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The topic was 'rebuilding trust - delivering change: the NHS, COVID and equalities'.

Overheard during the discussion:

“Goodness knows what it’s going to be like when the tide goes out after this. We’ve had a tsunami of problems due to Covid. When the tide goes out what’s left on the beach for us to see won’t be pretty.”

“The effect on ethnic minorities, including staff, of Covid is that it has accelerated the pace of change and has magnified the problems we already had. In many cases these problems have got worse. That leaves us with a wide recovery and calls on us to confront the problems we knew we had in 2019-2022 but weren’t really dealing with. Those problems are now bigger.”

“Let’s look at wave three and wave four [of Covid, which is] currently where we are. It has not gotten any better for ethnic minorities. The community is still at the highest risk. When you think about the hesitancy and combine the factors, let’s say for locations, the measure of disadvantage, the living arrangements, existing health conditions, vaccination status many other factors all contribute to that risk assessment. As healthcare professionals it is our responsibility to take that back to our working environments, we need to take that learning along with us.”

“Black Lives Matter raised these issues in ways that they hadn’t been before. At my trust we held events through which staff could join and talk about their experiences. It was important for the trust to confront what was really going on. I was horrified by the racism I saw, the high level of disciplinaries that people of ethnic minorities face, the lack of non-white representation, I didn’t think people were really grasping that problem.”

“People aren’t just not trusting the NHS, its authority in general. It’s the police, it’s local authorities it’s employers… it’s very widespread. The NHS has to realise its relationship with staff is affected by the staff’s experiences as a whole, what they see and feel and hear and experience.”

“The rebuilding trust agenda has to look between what has been going on in that hospital and boards have to understand that wider experience and I don’t think boards have yet been able to do that.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk