The events of 2020 have shone a light on the severe inequalities that exist in our society, raising important discussions about structural racism, health inequalities, and social deprivation. The health service has been a big part of this discussion – whether it has been about the disproportionate number of black, Asian and ethnic minority staff who have died from COVID-19, or the continued lack of diversity in health care leadership 6 years on from Roger Kline’s work highlighting the NHS’s ‘snowy white peaks’.
The Q community is founded on the principles of collaboration and valuing diversity. We aim to break down barriers between professional groups and geographies to improve health and care in the UK and Ireland. Some of my proudest and most enjoyable work experiences have been in workshops and events that brought together people from different backgrounds, to explore health and care challenges from different perspectives.
But if the events of this year have taught me anything, it’s that we need to do more than just value diversity and inclusion. We need to make it our job to push for change – knowing when to speak up and when to step aside for others. We need to recognise the system and society that we are part of, pay attention to where power and privilege are held, and listen to and provide a platform for different voices.
An equitable and inclusive health system: a theme of Q’s annual community event
That is why, at the virtual Q event on 18 and 19 November, we are pleased to be offering a stream of sessions about how we can collaborate for a more equitable, inclusive health system. The sessions will focus on the role that the improvement community can play in affecting change.
We need to do more than just value diversity and inclusion … The sessions will focus on the role that the improvement community can play in affecting change.
We will showcase some of the great work that is already underway to tackle inequalities. This will include a virtual marketplace session – giving the opportunity for improvers to connect, share ideas and learning. There will be a diverse mix of stations, profiling work that addresses public health challenges, digital inclusion, and supporting people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds in the workplace. If you are involved in work that you would like to profile, please get in touch.
We will also provide the space for deeper conversations about racial inequality. A small group of Q members will be sharing their personal and professional experiences of race and racism in the NHS, discussing what actions they are taking to change the status quo. We will draw on techniques from Liberating Structures and Team Time to build understanding and explore how the improvement community can be allies for change.
Alongside these interactive sessions, there will be some great on demand sessions, available to watch throughout the conference:
- Josephine Ocloo, who describes herself as an insider/outsider as both a health researcher and harmed patient, will be talking about the experience of being ‘seldom heard’ and her work democratising research with diverse communities.
- National Voices will be presenting their work exploring the structures and mechanisms needed for improvement teams and patients to work better together.
- And last but least, (as long as transatlantic diary scheduling is on our side!) Dominique Allwood will be interviewing David Ansell about his pioneering work to address racial inequity in Chicago, USA.
What does this mean for us?
You may be wondering what this work means for Q in the long-term. As Penny Pereira, Q Initiative Director, wrote in our newsletter in June, we have made a commitment to do more to ensure that Q is playing its part in enabling a more equitable society. As a team we have begun to explore what we can do to ensure Q is the diverse and inclusive community that it needs to be. To do this well, we will need your input, guidance and support. If you have ideas or would like to contribute or support this work, please do get in touch with me.
We hope that the conversations that take place at the Q event and beyond will provide an important opportunity to understand what is working well in Q and improvement, and what we can collectively do better in the future.
Q members: register to join the event
Register now to join fellow Q members at the annual Q community event to discuss this important topic. Session bookings open soon, when you’ll be able to build your own agenda. Alongside the sessions described here, you’ll have also have a chance to explore the themes:
- How can we maintain momentum behind positive service change?
- What is COVID-19 teaching us about leadership for improvement?
And, as ever, there will be plenty of opportunities to make connections and learn with fellow members. We hope to see you there.