Tackling racism in the workplace – an update

Eleven organisations have signed up to adopt the 15 actions in the College’s Tackling racism in the workplace guidance. 

The ‘how to’ guide – launched at this year’s International Congress as part of the Act Against Racism campaign - aims to help mental health organisations across the UK tackle racism at a strategic and systemic level.

It was developed in response to members asking the college to take action on an issue that impacts many personally and professionally - and is a key recruitment and retention issue in the midst of a workforce crisis. 

College President Dr Lade Smith CBE said: 

“No matter what stage an organisation is at, the guidance offers tangible actions and examples that will support them starting the conversation or taking the next step. It also helps meet existing ‘asks’ from national regulators such as the CQC in England and requirements as set out in the NHS EDI Improvement Plan.

“We believe adopting the actions in the guidance will have a transformational effect. I’m really pleased some organisations have signed up, but this is just the start.” 

One of the first organisations to sign up, St Matthews Healthcare, has already agreed an action plan. 

Consultant psychiatrist and medical director, Dr Shahid Latif, said: 

“We have gone through the 15 points in detail looking at what steps we can take, with plans to extend this to our workforce and patient groups. 

“It’s early days but I am confident we can make incremental changes. I look forward to sharing learnings and best practice with other organisations embarking on this journey”. 

In a recent podcast for Black History Month, Honouring Black female psychiatrists and tackling racism, senior NHS leaders Dr Itai Matumbike, Dr Uju Ugochukwu and Dr Mona-Lisa Kwentoh considered the issues of racism and equity within the field of psychiatry. Sharing their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives, they agreed - it is time for actions, not words. 

 Dr Matumbike, medical director at Northamptonshire NHS FT, urged organisations to adopt the guidance actions as a mechanism to make wholesale changes in how they deal with racist behaviour. 

He said: 

“I am a big proponent of the Act Against Racism campaign. I urge more organisations to adopt the toolkit and implement it as it will not only be important in terms of improving staff experience but will be very important in terms of improving the experience of people accessing services provided by that organisation.”

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