Wirral hospital celebrates diversity during Race Equality Week

Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) is set to celebrate Race Equality Week by spotlighting the stories of some of its dedicated staff from diverse heritages, cultures, and backgrounds.

Whilst the 2021 UK Census showed that 4.8% of Wirral residents identified their ethnic group as non-white, for WUTH this figure is 12.3% (over 800 staff). As the largest employer in Wirral with over 6,500 staff, and the number of staff with a non-white background growing each year, WUTH is like a multi-cultural village in the heart of Wirral.

As well as its ongoing and active recruitment from the local community, WUTH has supported a number of international recruitment initiatives over the years. The first cohort of nurses from Philippines, for example, arrived in December 1999.

Around 26 Filipino nurses were recruited, one of whom was Ros De Castro, Practice Education Facilitator, who supports nurses, students and allied health professionals in carrying out their roles.

Ros De Castro, Practice Education Facilitator

Ros, who is also Chair of the Multi-Cultural Staff Network, said, “I was one of the first group of international nurses to arrive at the Trust, when I was age 25. I’d never left the Philippines before then. Just like every other member of staff, the hospital has supported me in my career development and studying for further qualifications. I’ve been so happy here that I can’t see myself ever leaving the Wirral.”

“The aim of the Multicultural Staff Network is to offer a safe space for our multicultural staff to meet and give mutual support. The group is also involved in shaping plans and informing decisions to make improvements in experiences for staff from different cultures and backgrounds across the organisation. Focussing on equality, diversity and inclusivity creates a positive environment and a feeling of belonging not only for our staff but also for patients, visitors and the Wirral community as a whole.”

One of the hospital’s key priorities is to ensure staff feel included, valued, respected and that they belong.

King Sun Leong, Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology and Associate Medical Director the hospital’s Acute Division

King Sun Leong, Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology and Associate Medical Director the hospital’s Acute Division, said, “I came to the UK from Malaysia in 1984 at the age of 17 for A levels prior to studying medicine. I was the first in my family to go to university, let alone leave the country, and at first the experience was very daunting. I met my wife in 1992 at work and we have a daughter who is now 22. I came to the Wirral in 1995 when I joined the Trust as a registrar, and left in 1997 to work at other hospitals for a short time. I returned in 2004 as a consultant and I’ve stayed at Wirral University Teaching Hospital ever since.”

A number of other steps have already been taken including culture days held on various wards and departments and the re-launch of the #HelloMyNameIs campaign, highlighting the importance of getting people’s names right and giving help to ensure correct pronunciations.

The Trust is making continual improvements in ensuring positive experiences for its Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff, with the results of this years’ annual Workforce Race Equality Standards Report highlighting improvements in 8 out of 9 indicators since the last report in 2022 and improvements in all of the staff experience-related areas.

The Trust has now signed up to a new NHS North West Anti-Racism Framework, and together with NHS colleagues across the region, is committed to ensuring the elimination of all forms of racism and celebrating the wonderful diversity of its staff and the communities it serves.

David McGovern, Director of Corporate Affairs and Executive Lead for the Multi-Cultural Staff Network said, “The recruitment of our international colleagues has had a hugely positive impact on the hospital and on the Wirral community as a whole.

“They have brought a real richness and depth of experience to our hospital workforce. We recognise that it’s also important that our patients from diverse backgrounds feel welcome, safe and included when they are in our care. We will continue to make racial equality a top priority for all our staff and patients.”

Lead image: Ros De Castro (R) with Student Kelly Richardson

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