The conference took place at Preston North End Football Club with delegates enjoying entertainment from a steel band and lunch with a distinctly Caribbean flavour. More than 100 healthcare professionals from across the North West reflects upon the challenges and successes of the past, and looked forward to a bright future of equality, diversity and inclusion for all.
The event was hosted by Wayne Farrah, NHS Confederation Coordinator of the National BME Leadership Network and guest speakers included Professor Alan Rice from University of Central Lancashire, representatives from North West Trusts, along with international nurses and students sharing their stories about working in the nursing profession.
Chief Inspector Ian Mills, Lead on Equality and Diversity for Lancashire Police outlined action on hate crime and several members of the nursing workforce from around the region were recognised for their outstanding contributions to nursing, health and social care during a special awards ceremony at the event.
Regional Director for the RCN in the North West, Estephanie Dunn, said: “Black History Month provides a critical moment in which the diversity of the nursing profession can explore and celebrate the continuing contribution made by black and minority ethnic nurses. The event was a fantastic opportunity for our organisation to engage meaningfully with the communities around us and build trusting relationships founded on a mutual desire for social justice. I am grateful to everyone who made the day such a success.“Across the North West, we estimate that we’re missing around 5,000 nurses, which undoubtedly has an impact on the level of care that these dedicated, skilled and compassionate professionals are able to deliver. We know from speaking to our members that nursing staff are regularly working above and beyond their contracted ours to make sure that patients are kept as safe as possible, because there simply aren’t enough nurses to go around.
“The ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge affecting nursing staff from non-EU countries has seen the nursing workforce leaving the NHS in droves. Whilst these are just some of the contributing factors to staffing shortages in our NHS Trusts, it is one that is placing significant and unprecedented pressure on already stretched services and we’re calling on the public in the North West to fight for nurses and sign our petition calling on the Westminster Government to invest in the future workforce and make clear who is accountable in law for safe patient care.
“This event enabled the RCN to say thank you to those who have chosen to work and build a life in the UK, bringing invaluable skills, experience and dedication to the health and social care profession.”