Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre exists to make health and care services better for everyone.
We are working with people in the region to increase equality, diversity and inclusion as we act as a mechanism for change in our health and care community. This commitment is captured in our statement, published in August 2020, which is also available in an Easy Read version. We are pleased that Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is now a standing item at Bristol Health Partners AHSC board meetings: this helps us to keep a focus on progress against our commitments. See our Board meeting minutes.
In 2020-21 we developed a series of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training sessions for our HIT leadership teams. The first of these sessions – Anti-Racist Practice for Health Improvement – took place in March 2021, with 23 people from 13 HITs participating, and lots of positive feedback received.
This session has led to HITs modifying their practices, generally and specifically. For example, several HITs have looked at changing venue plans for their events so they can connect with different communities. The training also prompted our Suicide and Self-harm Prevention (STITCH) HIT to look at why people from Somali communities lacked access to liaison psychiatry at Southmead Hospital. It also supported our Psychological Therapies in Primary Care (InPsyTe) HIT to identify the specific ethnic groups they wanted to work with to understand barriers and enablers to using the talking therapies service.
This year we asked Health Integrations Teams (HITs) to complete Public Health England’s Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT) as part of our annual processes. HEAT consists of a series of questions and prompts, which are designed to help people systematically assess health inequalities related to their work programme and identify what they can do to help reduce inequalities. It also helps people to consider the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
We will be working on further promoting the use of this tool to HITs in the coming year, and it is included in a document signposting HITs to specific resources designed to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. We will also be using it to review our own resourcing decisions. To further support HITs, we have collated best practice on equalities monitoring questions. We have shared standardised questions for HITs to use in surveys and evaluations, to help build a more detailed picture of the people they work with.