National accolade for ambulance service for its commitment to diversity and inclusion

Significant improvement since last assessment

North East Ambulance Service has been named as one of the top performing organisations for its commitment to engage more diverse employees and patients as well as improvements made to services and employment practices.

The Trust, which employs more than 2,900 people, achieved gold status in this year’s Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion TIDE assessment, grading the progress the organisation has made across nine areas of the business in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion.

This year’s grading is the highest ever achieved by the service, and is a significant improvement from its silver grading in 2020.

Over the last year some of the work undertaken by the service has included:

  • Creating better understanding and awareness across the Trust through training, living library sessions, celebrating key national diversity events, and initiatives such as the race book club
  • Improving support to our four employee networks coving LGBTQ+, Disability, Ethnicity and women
  • Launching an equality allies initiative, training over 100 people on how they can be better allies and get on board
  • Improving procurement practices to ensure our supply chain and practices consider equality in everything they do
  • Launching a community and employee positive action programme, reaching out into diverse communities to educate people about our service and how to access them
  • Improving support to access services and informaiton, reviewed interpreting services, provided BSL on corporate videos, launched a communication support guide for staff to use with patients and ensured our comms show images of diverse people
  • Ensuring managers and executives understand equality through training, executives on staff network groups and taking ownership for delivery of our equality action plan

More information is available in this year’s annual report, which is available to view here: www.neas.nhs.uk/about-us/equality-and-diversity.aspx

NEAS chief executive Helen Ray said: “It is fantastic to see the work of our teams recognised by this gold award.

“As an organisation, we are proud to have made a firm and consistent commitment to make our workplace and services inclusive and compassionate. Utilising this framework has helped us to improve our response on diversity and inclusion agenda and a 10 per cent improvement in our assessments clearly demonstrates that the work and commitment we have put into improving our approach to diversity and inclusion for colleagues and patients is delivering real change and improvement.

“We recognise that this is not the end of our journey and building on this real success we will continue to drive forward our commitment to inclusivity and will cement ourselves as a key partner with a core ambition to make NEAS and the North East the best place to live, work and grow.”

Karen O’Brien, director of people and development and executive lead for equality, diversity and inclusion, added: “Achieving the highest level of award through the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion demonstrates the commitment we, as a board and as an organisation, have made to try and make our workplace and services as inclusive, diverse and compassionate as we can.

“I am also pleased that, through the ENEI assessment, we have been able to engage with a wide cross-section of our people, teams and partners, as it is really important for me that everyone in the organisation feels part of, understands and feels confident to challenge others where behaviours or practices are not where we aspire them to be in relation to diversity and inclusion.  

“We recognise however this is a constant conversation and we will continue to do so to achieve our ambition of being a great place to work."

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