The Health and Social Care BME Network has team up with the South England Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church to sponsor a Health Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago from the 21st April to 17th May 2016. A group of eminent doctors and more than 25 Nurses and other Allied Health professionals have volunteered their time and to be part of the delegation.
The Network is instrumental in getting three Consultants from Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to visit T&T and perform surgeries in their specialised fields. Among the Consultants is Dr Arun Gupta Consultant Ophthalmologist, who would be performing cataract surgeries on patients who are unable to afford private healthcare. Professor Michael Mahmoudi, Consultant Cardiologist will perform Primary Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) which consists of balloon angioplasty (with or without stenting) and Dr Sunita Shortria, Consultant Breast Cancer Surgeon would treat women with breast cancer.
The Network is working in close collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Government through its High Commission in London in planning the trip. Talks are in progress for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish an annual Health Exchange Programme whereby medical professionals and allied medical professionals in a bilateral exchange of expertise. Among the main activities planned are health screening (MOT) focusing on ‘Know Your Health Numbers, – body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, waist measurement, body composition, peak flow, carbon monoxide testing, blood sugar testing, age analysis, Harvard step for testing for: blood cholesterol, high density lipo-protein (HDL) and triglycerides.
The children’s health expositions and educational sessions will introduce the eight natural laws of health (Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, Trust in Divine Power). There would also be a number of Public Health workshops focusing on the awareness and prevention of: High blood pressure; Diabetes; Weight management; Cancer awareness; Dementia awareness and Women’s health-(menopause and fibroids).
The delegation will also be providing some basic humanitarian needs for local communities.
T&T Top 12 causes of death by disease (WHO 2015)
1. Coronary Heart Disease
2. Diabetes Mellitus
6. Prostate Cancer
7. Influenza and Pneumonia
8. Kidney Disease
9. Road Traffic Accidents
10. Colon-Rectum Cancer
11. Breast Cancer
Health and Social Care BME Network invited to function in support of Edna Aadan Maternity Hospital in Somaliland
Edna Ismail-speaking at function
The HSC BME Network was invited to a special function hosted by the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital where the Guest of Honour was Mrs Edna Ismail former first Lady of Somaliland.
At the age of 78 Edna is energetic and passionate about the hospital she was so heavily instrumental in establishing. The Hospital has become a beacon for high quality clinical care provided in the Hargeisa region of Somaliland. Although the hospital mission is to improve maternal and infant health care, and fight the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, the hospital now provides general care for all patients.
Edna is the former Foreign Minister of the Somaliland Republic. She held this office from 2003 until 2006, and had previously served as Somaliland's Minister of Family Welfare and Social Development.She was married to Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal former Prime Minister of Somalia (1967–1969) and President of Somaliland (1993–2002).
Edna trained as a nurse in the United Kingdom where she is said to be 'the first Somali woman to study in Britain, she later qualified as a midwife.
Edna has also worked for the World Health Organisation and the United Nations as a Regional Nursing Adviser during 1986. From 1987 to 1991, she was Regional Technical Officer for Mother and Child Health, with responsibility for issues relating to harmful traditional practices.
Heather Caudle Director of Nursing of the Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Trust organised the function in collaboration with Ian Fenwick Ambassador for Somaliland. In welcoming Edna she referred to her as the “Muslim Mother Theresa” and was effusive in her praise for the work she is doing to save lives. Heather and the Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust would be exploring the possibility of partnering with the Edna Ismail Maternity Hospital to train some of their midwives. According to Heather they would be called “Edna Angels”.
In attendance to welcome the Edna and her party was Professor Phillip Beesley the Deputy Chair of the Board.
Nolan Victory seated and Dr Isaac John right of the HSC BME Network
The HSC BME Network was invited to give a presentation on some of the work they are doing in collaboration with the London North West Hospital NHS Trust around Female Genital Mutilation. In October 2015 the Network teamed up with the Trust to host a symposium on FGM at the Ealing Town Hall. The symposium took place on the 21 October 2015 and was organised by Nolan Victory Equalities and Inclusion Manager for the Trust and Vice Chair of the HSC BME Network. The symposium was coincident with the start of mandatory reporting of FGM whenever found by registered professionals, i.e. physicians, educators, social workers and police.
"FGM is not the end, there is HOPE"
for more information please click Tackling the problem from a local and national perspective
On Saturday 24th January 2015 the Assembly Rooms at Islington Town Hall in North London were invaded by people of colour and various other minority ethnic people. They came from all corners of the globe - Oxford, Manchester, Portsmouth and even Huddersfield! They all had one mission - to help celebrate the NHS as a place where people of colour and other minority ethnic people are able to be properly and fully included in shaping the future of health and social care in England. The occasion? The Health and Social Care BME Network EMBRACE Awards 2015. I had the privilege of being there having been invited to present an award on behalf of my organisation - NHS Employers.
But - "Hold on a minute" I hear you say - "Is he allowed to say 'people of colour'?"
I'm glad you asked! My answer is a resounding Yes! The reason being that I must have heard that phrase used at least four or five times during the evening - and at least twice by one of the black presenters. Like you, I was unsure about the language at first. I am familiar with the term - because it is one that I often hear and read when listening to or researching BME issues in America. But it is not one that has been commonly used in this country for some time - and indeed one that I myself have argued against using in the past! And so it was interesting to hear how the phrase was used here and how it seems to be coming into fashion more generally. It seemed to be being used as a way to distinguish between conscious and unconscious bias: a way of recognising and acknowledging that (white) people's behaviour and attitude will often change when dealing with a visibly black person (as opposed to a white person who may also be from an ethnic minority background).
And then - earlier this week - of course, the Benedict Cumberbatch saga unfolded! I read the comments and views around it with interest - wondering (to be honest) whether I should publish this piece in light of the story breaking. But one piece in particular that I read - by Joseph Harker of the Guardian - made me decide that I would publish it - as it convinced me that perhaps the language we are using is changing - and needs to change.
Anyway, that wasn't really the purpose of me writing this piece! But I thought I should just clarify that point before I continue!
And it does resonate actually with the point that I did want to make about the EMBRACE Awards - which is how important it is that white people like myself attend and participate in events like these. Equally, how important it is that non-disabled staff attends disabled staff events. How important it is that men attend women in leadership events. And how important it is that heterosexual staff attends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender events. And how equally important it is that men advocate on women's issues and that we have straight allies. The reason is that the conversations that I have at these events are so much more "real" and genuine than the conversations I have in the restraints and confines of formal meetings discussing diversity and inclusion issues. Spending time with people and groups that I might not ordinarily spend my time with - especially in an informal setting - is (and has been) a great privilege and honour. But more than this, it has been an education.
Which brings me back to the awards again! I was struck by the pledges of the Health and Social Care BME Network which were shared on the evening by Jon Restell - CEO of Managers in Partnership (who had sponsored the awards). He spoke of the need for the network to Challenge, Educate and Celebrate. And that was exactly what I was able to do by attending this event. I found myself engrossed in conversations with BME (I'll use that phrase now - because it is the one that I am more used to using!) colleagues which allowed me (in a relaxed, supportive atmosphere) to challenge their thinking - and for them to challenge mine. I found myself being educated - having had a lengthy discussion with Eva (a Consultant Pediatrician of Polish origin) about her family history and the various upheavals that they had faced - mainly at the hands of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s (all the more poignant today of course - the day after Holocaust Memorial Day 2015). And I had the pleasure of being able to celebrate the achievements of some wonderful colleagues of mine whom I have worked with for many years now. I was particularly delighted to see Satheesh Mathew, Ludlow Johnson and Jagtar Singh - for his lifetime achievements - receive awards. I was even more privileged to present an award to my friend and colleague Joan Saddler for her work in the voluntary and community sectors. Well done to them - and to all of the winners on the night. And congratulations to the HSC BME Network for putting on a fantastic event! And thank you to Nolan (Victory) and his wife for being such fantastic hosts on our table for the evening.
(That's enough thank yous for now Paul! Get to the point!)
OK - the point I'm trying to make is that I would like to see more white managers at the EMBRACE awards next year - and more organisations (and those managers) sponsoring, supporting and attending BME networks throughout the year and encouraging them to put themselves forward for awards like these. Similarly, I would like to see more NHS organisation's (and their managers) sponsoring, supporting and attending LGBT, faith and disabled staff networks. In this way, I hope that we can continue to get over some of the social and language taboos that many people feel when discussing issues around equality - and all feel a little bit more comfortable with our language. Maybe then we can move on - and focus on the important stuff - which is about embracing our diversity.
Ps this is me and Jo - she's from Huddersfield - and proud of it!
Footnote: The HSC BME Network is an alliance of BME networks and public service agencies dedicated to promoting fair services free of racial discrimination. The Health & Social Care Black and Minor
It is designed to equip Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Health Service staff with the skills and strategies for surviving in the volatile environment of an NHS going through major changes all the time. You will learn to challenge unfair treatment at work, frame a grievance, conduct yourself in a disciplinary hearing and make a coherent complaint against discriminatory practice. You will also learn about your rights under employment law and new changes at the Employment Tribunal.
If you have an event coming up please get in touch and we will be happy to discuss advertising rates. Alliance partners will receive favourable rates.