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Healthier Futures - Local NHS team shortlisted for award

Local NHS team shortlisted for award

A team from the NHS Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System (BCWB ICS) have been named as finalists at this year’s HSJ Awards.

The community inclusion team at Healthier Futures, the Black Country and West Birmingham’s Integrated Care System, has been shortlisted for the NHS Race Equality Award, recognising their outstanding contribution in identifying and tackling ethnic health inequalities for local people.

The area was hit hard by the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020, with data indicating that ethnic minority staff had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, compared with white staff. To challenge this, the Healthier Futures team set up a BAME COVID-19 Group, chaired by an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, bringing together local organisations to help address health inequality concerns.  

The initiative has helped reduce hospital admissions for mental health during the pandemic, break down vaccine hesitancy, and bring together local partners, including the voluntary sector, to combat health inequalities - as well as supporting ethnic minority staff across the BCWB ICS.

The HSJ Awards is the biggest annual awards celebration in the health sector. Over the last 40 years they have been celebrating excellence in driving positive change in health and care settings.

Jonathan Fellows, Independent Chair of the BCWB ICS, Healthier Futures, said: “We’re delighted that the community inclusion team, who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months on this project, are being recognised for all their hard work.

“Tackling ethnic health inequalities is a critical step to ensuring everyone in society can live full and healthy lives, regardless of their background. This really is a pioneering project, tackling inequalities in practice, and to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award in the sector is a huge achievement.”

Ashi Williams, Director of People at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am so pleased that our Community Development Workers (CDWs), who work as part of our community inclusion team, have been recognised.

“The last 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the NHS and for people across the Black Country and West Birmingham. Our CDWs have tirelessly supported our Healthier Futures ambitions to reduce health inequalities, by working with our communities to enable innovation, collaboration and prevention. They have achieved this through work with our diverse communities – with just one of the outcomes being that vaccine hesitancy for people from an ethnic minority has been broken down and supported.

“I am so proud and thankful for the amazing work of the community inclusion team – to ensure that people from an ethnic minority are heard, that they have equitable access and opportunity to health and social care provisions, and that they are not at a detriment.”

The winners of the HSJ Awards 2021 will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London, on Thursday 18 November.

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