Statement on Discrimination, Inequality and Racism from North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group Chair and Accountable Officer

The protests in the US and on our doorstep in central London demand an end to racism and we wanted to make our position clear. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has rightly ignited anger around the world. The North Central London CCG (NCL CCG) recognises and shares this strength of emotion, and stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign and the fight to end racial discrimination.

These recent events will have made many of us stop and think about what – as individuals, colleagues and as NHS employees – we can do to safeguard the rights of others, to eliminate discrimination and to promote inclusion. Together, we stand with all our colleagues and the wider Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in North Central London in the fight against racism and social injustice. 

These events are happening at the same time as evidence confirms the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on BAME communities in the UK, including the incredibly sad loss of BAME colleagues working in the NHS. The recent Public Health England coronavirus report begins to shine a harsh spotlight on the inequalities that persist in our country. It must make us think differently about how we commission care and how we take care of our residents and colleagues, their welfare and wellbeing as individuals and employees.

NCL CCG, as an employer and as an NHS organisation, has an unwavering commitment to tackling racism and inequality, and to ensuring equity and fairness for all. It is unacceptable that our BAME communities continue to experience significantly poorer outcomes. We must respond faster and do more to eliminate this inequality through our commissioning. Our vision must be a healthier and fairer future for North Central London.

The pandemic has enabled us to work together as a health and care system in ways we previously would not have thought possible. We now know that, with collective will, we can deliver rapid and radical change. This catalyst must be used to eliminate pervasive health inequality in North Central London – including those experienced by BAME service users, families and communities.

Over the coming weeks we are planning a number of initiatives, including strengthening staff engagement through the development of a Staff Diversity Network and more targeted engagement with BAME patients and communities. We want to use these forums to have open and honest conversations. We want to hear more from our BAME colleagues, patients and communities to help us support them, address racism and incivility, and review our policies and services as required to address inequalities.

In writing this statement, we speak for the CCG’s Governing Body and Executive Management Team to assure our colleagues, patients and the community that there is no place for discrimination at NCL CCG. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to tackle health inequality amongst our BAME community groups and, through open and honest conversations and decisive actions, we will continue addressing race equality issues facing our colleagues in the organisation.

We want to make sure that people working here feel our organisation is inclusive, and that people from all cultures and communities can share their experiences and speak out on issues. However, we know that it is not enough to simply stand in support with BAME colleagues. We must be vocal and take action, which is why we will be developing a new set of workforce equality objectives based around the workforce race equality standard (WRES), coronavirus evidence and local experiences.

For some of our friends and colleagues this will be an emotional time. Please be mindful of the impact that recent events may be having and take time to think about how you can provide support. This is a time for all of us to listen and speak up and be there for one another.

It is about every single one of us at NCL CCG committing to doing whatever is necessary to drive change. We encourage everyone, regardless of your background and role, to be proactive and take personal responsibility to address discrimination wherever this occurs, with full confidence and without hesitation.

Together we can and will tackle racism, inequality and discrimination in North Central London.

Frances O’Callaghan, Accountable Officer

Dr Jo Sauvage, Chair