NEAS Chief Executive Yvonne Ormston signing the Mind Blue Light Pledge with Occupational Health manager Lesley Ellison and Caroline Thurlbeck, Director of Strategy, Transformation and Workforce

North East Ambulance Service makes the finals of regional awards

Three projects selected for Equality North East Awards

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is celebrating after being recognised for its work on equality and diversity.

The Trust has been selected as a finalist for three projects in this year’s Equality North East Awards.

Organised by Equality North East (ENE), the awards are now in their 13th year, recognising the achievements of local organisations, individuals and groups in embedding inclusivity through equality and diversity in day to day working practices.

NEAS submitted a number of projects for consideration in this year’s awards and, of those, three have been shortlisted as finalists in two categories.

Two of those projects, Dementia Friends and Mind Blue Light, have been shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding Contribution by A Larger Organisation’ category in recognition of the Trust’s commitment to the mental health of its staff and its efforts to raise awareness of dementia in the organisation.

The Trust’s Proud@NEAS group, a staff group set up to give lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff a voice, has also been shortlisted in the ‘Groups Who Have Made A Difference’ category in recognition of the group’s support to improve recruitment processes and ensure the Trust’s services consider the needs of LGBT people.

The awards will be held at Ramside Hall on 20 October.

Mark Johns, Engagement Manager, said: “Over the last couple of years we have made significant progress in all three of these areas and therefore it’s fantastic to see these efforts recognised.”

Catherine Young, Board Champion for Equality and Diversity said “The Trust is working to change the culture and ensure the needs of patients and employees are considered.

“Patients are at the heart of everything we do and so it was incredibly important for us to become a Dementia Friendly organisation. However we can’t look after our patients without looking after our staff and so we chose to support the Mind Blue Light campaign to help raise awareness of mental health and combat the stigma that unfortunately still surrounds it.

“We were very proud to be named a Stonewall top 50 employer. The fact that our LGBT staff now have a group and, more importantly, a voice to be able to influence and change services and that they’re work has been recognised, is proof of how far we have come as an organisation.

“Being shortlisted for all three of these projects helps to recognise the progress we’ve made even further.”

Key achievements in each area are:

  • Proud@NEAS –
    • Improved ranking in the Stonewall Equality Index, becoming a top 50 employer
    • Development of a fact sheet for staff on LGBT issues
    • Increased number of staff who feel comfortable declaring their sexual orientation
    • Creation of a LGBT staff network, which now has more than 100 members
    • Increased presence at regional Pride events
    • Creation of a national LGBT network in partnership with other ambulance trusts
    • Improved visibility of LGBT issues within the organisation
  • Mind Blue Light -
    • Increased awareness of mental ill health
    • Promotion of a range of support services and helplines
    • Promotion of the impact of mental health on staff
    • Reviewed procedures
    • Development of coping strategies
    • Social media campaign
  • Dementia Friends - some of the Trust’s achievements include:
    • Commitment to training all 2,600 employees to become Dementia Friends between April 2016 and March 2017
    • Development of a pocket guide for employees about how to communicate and support people affected by Dementia
    • Staff awareness sessions with the Alzheimer’s Society
    • Promotion of staff stories about how Dementia has impacted on them
    • Trained a number of staff to become Dementia Champions

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