Hello everyone,

Welcome to my latest blog.

Every month we host an ‘Engage’ event where around 200 of our leaders from across the Trust come together to share good practise and key messages.  Last week our event focused on health inequalities.

Sadly, some of our communities experience significant inequalities leading to less access to services, reduced healthy life-expectancy, poorer clinical outcomes and face greater health risks.

Many factors can affect health inequality including levels of deprivation, housing, education, or employment so it is important that everybody – not just those working in health and care – recognises this. We as a Trust, also have a role in positively affecting health inequality through means other than direct care. For example, through our support to the local economy, recruitment efforts and employment initiatives, service user and carer involvement, and our policies.

I was delighted that Pastor Mick from Church on the Street was able to join us at the event as our guest speaker. Borne out of Mick’s own lived experience as someone in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Church on the Street (CoTS) does incredible work to tackle poverty and improve access to food, support and health and care services for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Mick gave us a raw, moving and honest description of the reality of life for many people and I was blown away to hear about the extraordinary lengths that his charity are going to, to help people who are so desperately in need.

And it was clear I wasn’t alone. The response from our staff was overwhelming with many suggestions and offers of support coming forward – really living and breathing our Trust values! I was incredibly proud.

I made a commitment during the event that we would look at putting in place more ways that we, both as a Trust and as individuals, can offer support to Pastor Mick, CoTS and the people he helps.

This included looking at how we could offer Trainee Associate Psychological Practitioners (TAPPs) and physical health support into CoTS, identifying opportunities for our staff to contribute to food banks and make donations via the Pennies from Heaven salary sacrifice scheme and working on our DNA policy so we’re not turning people away from our services when they don’t turn up for appointments which can often happen. We must be proactive in reaching out to our service users when they may be at their most vulnerable.

Our Burnley Community Mental Health Team have also been doing a fantastic job supporting CoTS with weekly drop in sessions and they have had a huge impact. This is just great to hear – thank you for everything you are doing.

These inequalities are unfair, avoidable, and systematic and we’re absolutely committed to working with our partners to really make a difference for people in our local communities, and tackle this.

We heard some fabulous examples from within LSCft of just some of the ways we are already doing just that.

A huge thank you to Senior Research Manager Farah Lunat who gave us a fascinating insight into the incredible ROSHNI 2 Research trial which aims to health inequality amongst South Asian women accessing perinatal services. This is the first multi-centre, national trial we have led on – something we can all be very proud of.

And to our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead Candace Bedu-Mensah, who outlined our new Ally Framework. This gives everyone across our LSCft family a chance to get involved in our Inclusivity Journey. I really hope that many of you take the opportunity to participate in this crucial work – something that has a very real impact on inequalities.

The EDI agenda is immensely important for me, indeed for the whole organisation.  It was a key item on our Board development day last week and we are all committed to taking this work forward.

We are making very positive progress though we still have work to do to ensure we are fully representative of our communities, and that our black and minority ethnic colleagues do not face discrimination. 

We are currently more representative than ever before with 11.4% of our workforce being from a black or ethnic minority background (our target is 14%) and there is evidence of more fairness in our appointment processes. We are six months in to a 12 month implementation plan and you can be assured that we are advancing in our determination to be a beacon for equality, diversity and inclusion.

Until next time...

Caroline