Recent events have proven once again just how unequal our society remains. The pandemic has shone a harsh light on the inequalities and injustice that continue permeate our society, especially for those from black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds. Soberingly, the NHS is still a part of this problem. The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) shows improvement, but this is not equality. This needs to be owned and acted on by us all.
Racism is wrong and should have no place in modern society. The RCR unreservedly condemns discrimination in all forms. This is true for our members and Fellows and employees as well as the wider society we serve.
The RCR has done much to try to ensure inclusivity. We have an equality and diversity policy which covers all our work. This was last updated, scrutinised, and agreed by Council in 2019.
A report is brought annually to Council to demonstrate how the principles of equality and diversity are embedded within all our activities and operations. This includes a summary of the make-up of the boards and committees through which members and Fellows engage with the work of the RCR. Representation varies year on year as the members change but, in general, we do have varied representation in both Faculties for the work we do. We recognise this has been less visible at our most senior leadership levels: Presidents, Officers and the senior management team. Undoubtedly, this could be improved. As an employer, in light of recent events, we have undertaken a listening process with staff to understand what other improvements we need to make.
But this isn’t enough. How do we change – both ourselves and society? We want to reach out, to ensure we hear but also act to negate the discrimination our members and Fellows face. We want to make equality a truly integral part of all we do. We want to fully represent and gain input from those who may feel unwilling to put themselves forward because of the experiences they have had. We want to address the inequalities directly experienced by patients as well as healthcare staff.
However we try to achieve our goals it will be challenging for all of us. Looking at ourselves, reflecting on our prejudices and trying to change them will be tough, but we are determined to act to achieve this. The leadership team are absolutely committed to finding effective ways to improve equality and tackle the structural racism our members and Fellows are subject to. We are currently exploring how we might best achieve our aims in a durable, sustainable way. Over the summer we will be looking to engage with you to help us make a concrete start on these changes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experiences and insights with us – we will become stronger for that.