I couldn’t start my weekly message without sharing and reflecting on the tragic news about Sir David Amess. I know many colleagues live in Essex and others may have met Sir David through your roles within the NHS. I would like to offer my condolences to his loved ones and all who knew him, and the comments made by his peers and colleagues about his kindness, compassion and tolerance have really resonated with me, particularly in light of the work we are doing across NELFT to embed a just and compassionate culture.
As I mentioned last week, October is a busy month full of awareness dates including Freedom to Speak Up month and Black History month. At the People and Culture Committee this week we heard about progress with our work to support colleagues to speak out, as well as updates from our Just and Compassionate Culture Programme leads and from our staff networks. I also met with the EMN ambassadors last week together with Professor Anton Emmanuel, the national senior lead for WRES. Anton was yet again so positive about the work of the network. For me it was further evidence of the power of staff networks in making positive changes across our organisation. And when thinking about the influence of networks and people I would like to take this opportunity in particular to thank Lee Chester, co-chair of our LGBT+ Staff Network who is standing down in January, for all of his hard work and commitment to the network.
On Tuesday I took part in some filming with Jacqui Van Rossum and Marie-Antoinette Ferreira-Pursley, co-chair of our Disability Staff Network where we had the opportunity to discuss the challenges our colleagues with a disability can face as well as some of the support on offer across NELFT as a disability inclusive employer. This film will be available next month so I do hope you will take the time to watch it. In the meantime, you can find out more about the Disability Staff Network on the intranet.
I had the privilege to open the North East London LeDeR conference on Tuesday, with colleagues from across North East London sharing learning and insight. Thank you to Bini Thomas, our Associate Medical Director for the NELFT Adult Mental Health and Learning Disability Community of Practice and Karen Slater, our Learning Disability Nurse Lead for participating in the programme. They were part of an incredible line-up of speakers, discussing such an important area, including the impact of COVID-19 on people with a learning disability.
It was delightful to see our Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) campaign on social media last week, sharing the stories and journeys of a number of our AHPs across NELFT with a focus on how you can build your career as an AHP. It was a great way to celebrate AHPs Day, and on the same day as our first NELFT careers conference where we heard from a number of AHPs and other colleagues about the development opportunities available in the Trust.
On Friday I was lucky enough to be able to visit Woodbury Unit and meet the team. I was struck by the enthusiasm and commitment of colleagues who described how they have responded to the many challenges over the past 18 months. What I saw was a team with little evidence of hierarchy, a real focus on patient care and a palpable sense of the importance of looking after each other. In many ways they represented much of the work we are trying to achieve about compassionate leadership. Thank you so much to all colleagues who took time out to meet me.