Pictured: Diversity and Equality Manager, Nazir Makda

Research shows people enjoy working for organisations with good employment practices. They can attract and retain better talent, as well as improving workforce productivity.

And it’s true that those of us old enough to have worked in a number of jobs during our careers talk a lot about the places we liked working at…and those we didn’t!

This is important because a motivated, inclusive and valued workforce will deliver high quality patient care, increased patient satisfaction and better patient safety.

With over one million employees the NHS as a whole needs to demonstrate equality across its entire workforce. And though this is a national problem, it is the experience of our staff and the reputation of East Lancashire Hospitals that is important to me.

It’s hard to accept that some of our colleagues are not provided with an appropriate and professional workplace because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. And if a percentage of staff suffer inequality in this way, then we have to ask ourselves, does the same behaviour extend to our patients?

Often, attitudes which amount to discrimination exist through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping. Whatever the cause though, we must act. As the Trust’s Equality and Diversity Lead and a ‘Fair Treatment Champion’, I am at the heart of the efforts to ensure race equality for all our staff is a reality.

It is unacceptable that the relative likelihood of white staff being appointed from shortlisting compared to BME staff is 3.05 times greater; that BME staff are 1.4 times more likely to enter the formal disciplinary process, compared to their white colleagues; and that white staff are 1.19 times more likely to receive funding for training compared to BME staff.

It is unacceptable that in the last 12 months, 14 per cent of BME staff personally experienced discrimination at work – more than twice the figure for white staff.

As our staff are recognised as our most valuable resource it is essential they are engaged with the organisation and are working together towards a shared goal. This applies equally to both our BME and non-BME staff, it is hugely important to ensure the huge array of skills and experience of all staff are brought to bear. We seek inclusion and equality for everyone at ELHT.

What we don’t want is ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ to become buzzwords; to give the impression we are saying and doing the right thing but those words don’t translate into the core of our daily behaviour.

We should ensure ELHT is an inclusive place to work, for every member of staff.

It is vital that inclusion is a part of the fabric at ELHT and that equality is something we are proud of. We’re all individuals. We all have our own set of personal characteristics. We all want to feel valued. If you’re reading these words and asking yourself “what can I do - I’m just one person?”, then I have a suggestion. Yes, you are one person and there are more than 8000 of us who together, can make a real difference to race equality.