Our staff networks

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has five staff networks. These include staff networks for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, disabled people, LGBTQI+ people, women, and staff who are members of the UK’s armed forces community (for example members of the reserve forces, armed forces veterans, and their spouses/partners and dependants).

The purpose of the networks is to support, represent, empower and provide colleagues who are members of the groups with a platform to be heard and reach their full potential – without fear of discrimination or prejudice. They also provide staff with an opportunity to work with the Trust on projects, policies, procedures and strategies so it can become a more inclusive place to work.

Under the Equality Act 2010, all public sector employers must abide by the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The PSED has three key aims:  

1.1      Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation

1.2      Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not  

1.3      Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not 

Our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network was launched in 2020 to support the Trust’s Board in the delivery of duties outlined in the NHS constitution, with regard to race equality. This includes ensuring the Trust continues to include the implementation and delivery of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES). The BAME Staff Network steering group aims to support and develop BAME staff across all professional groups in the Trust.

The purpose of the BAME Staff Network is to support all staff who identify as black, Asian, minority ethnic or mixed heritage in the following ways:

  • Provide a forum for staff to talk about issues that specifically affect them
  • Raise awareness of equality in the workplace and host events, diversity days and initiatives
  • Raise concerns of racial discrimination with senior leaders in the Trust
  • Support the career development of BAME staff
  • Provide strategic advice to Medway NHS Foundation Trust on the issues affecting BAME staff
  • Provide advice and guidance in the development and review of Trust policies and procedures
  • Provide advice and guidance in personnel issues including recruitment, selection, retention and training
  • Consider reports on BAME issues at the Trust, including reports relating to monitoring data and good practice
  • Engage in and promote coaching and mentoring opportunities for BAME staff
  • Participate in and promote reciprocal mentoring programmes for the organisation, with BAME staff as mentors
  • Liaise with BAME service users and BAME community groups to raise awareness of their health needs and their perceptions of the NHS
  • Support the establishment of a BAME allies programme.

Our Women’s Staff Network was launched in 2023 and aims to help make the voice of female colleagues, and those who identify as women, stronger by: 

  • Advocating for women’s interests and ambitions and to empower all those who identify as women across all pay grades and job roles
  • Supporting the Trust in creating an inclusive place of work 
  • Creating a sense of community by building relationships across all staff groups and other networks, acknowledging intersections between sex and other protected characteristics, for example race or disability
  • Offering support by sharing ideas and personal experiences and identifying areas where additional support might be required, signposting to the relevant sources of assistance/support available both internally and externally, and to explore solutions to the issues and opportunities raised by the members
  • Accelerating change by providing feedback and input into the Trust’s policies and processes 
  • Enhancing career and personal development through initiatives such as events, training, communications and resource sharing and encouraging personal and professional learning and development 
  • Engaging with other Trust staff networks and communicating all events to ensure they are visible to all colleagues who identify as women. 

The LGBTQI+ Staff Network was re-established in 2020 and has similar aims to those of the other networks, with a focus on the priorities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other sexual and gender minority staff in relation to workplace inclusion. The network aims to provide a collective voice for, and visibility of LGBTQI+ people, as well as mutual support. The network is working on a new set of priorities for 2023 onwards.

The (Dis)Ability Staff Network was re-launched in 2022 with similar aims to the other networks, focusing on the priorities of staff who identify as disabled or who have a lifelong limiting health condition, or similar need, as well for carers of disabled people.  This network also aims to help the Trust to deliver on the Public Sector Equality Duty, and the NHS Workforce Disability Standard (WDES). The network aims to provide a collective voice for, and increase the visibility of disabled people, people with long term limited illnesses, and carers of disabled people, as well as mutual support. The network is working on a new set of priorities for 2023 onwards, including the development of a health and disability passport.

The Armed Forces Staff Network was established in 2019, for staff who are members of the UK armed forces community (for example members of the reserve forces, or veterans, and their spouses/partners and dependants). The network exists to recognise the additional challenges faced by armed forces personnel now working in civilian settings and the additional skills and perspectives they bring to the workplace. The network exists for mutual support, and to advise the Trust on matters relating to the Armed Forces Covenant and Defence Employer Recognition scheme.

Information about the staff networks is provided during the Trust’s induction process for new employees. Further information about the networks, their purpose and objectives, and how to join them are available by contacting the Trust’s Head of Equality and Inclusion Alister McClure – alister.mcclure@nhs.net