The National BAME Health & Care Awards (BAMEHCA), the yearly event that recognises the hard work of BAME professionals in the UK’s health and care sectors, has revealed its first set of 2021 winners.
The importance of the awards in 2021
The pandemic’s impact on BAME communities made this year’s awards sponsored by UK trade union, Unison, even more important, where awards founder, Wendy Olayiwola, revealed in her opening address that 68% of UK healthcare workers that died from COVID-19 were BAME.
She explained how BAME workers are highly represented in the UK’s healthcare sector (40%). Yet, they remain vastly underrepresented in senior positions, where only 2% of senior healthcare managers are from ethnic-minority backgrounds.
She said the awards were essential to encourage “future progression and acknowledgement” for BAME healthcare workers and highlight role models and mentors for the younger generation, and encourage them to “embrace a profession in the sector.”
Olayiwola added that due to the impact of the pandemic, the award’s categories had been expanded to recognise the grassroots efforts and “wide range of services from our volunteers and supporters.”
She then thanked the panel of judges who assessed each submission, where 112 submissions were eventually shortlisted; the judges included social commentator and campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE, Senior Clinical Fellow at Imperial College London, Mala Rao OBE, and Dr. Shera Chok, National Clinical Advisor NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Dal Babu OBE, Non-Executive Director Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, Edith Akenkide Social Worker and Team Manager at Haringey Council in partnership with BEH Mental Health Trust and Diana Belfon Equality and Engagement Manager, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust were also judges.
Winners by category
The event’s host and DiversityQ’s Editor Cheryl Cole announced the first set of winners and highly commended nominees by category:
1. Health and Wellbeing Advocate
The highly commended nominee was Gayathri Subramanian – Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Cole said: “The winners have implemented an innovative health initiative which is improving health outcomes for BAME people and communities and has increased awareness of the wider health challenges for BAME patients.
“They have identified an area of health and adopted a clear systemic approach to encourage communities to donate blood. They also demonstrated an understanding of culture including religious barriers that contribute to a lack of trust and help overcome those challenges.”
“We’re so excited that our activities within our communities have been recognised,” said Olubukola. Akinola added that the award was dedicated to the blood donors from BAME communities in the Liverpool area.
2. Compassionate and Inclusive Leader – Network
The highly commended nominee was Odeth Richardson – Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Trust
Cole said: “The winner has demonstrated that courageous and inspiring leadership can occur at any level of an organisation and includes sending a letter to the Chief Executive asking what action has been taken to protect their BAME staff during the pandemic where this resulted in regular meetings with the Chief Executive and raised the profile of the network.”
The winner was Daisy Peets – West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust
Peets said: “It makes me feel very proud to be part of the network at West Herts Trust, and feel that all the work I put into assisting with setting up the network all those years ago has been so worthwhile.
She added that she was pleased “the network has grown to be an effective and vibrant safe space” to further the “race equality scheme” and improve “working lives.”
Cole extended her congratulations to West Herts Trust who had “three shortlisted nominees.”
3. Compassionate and Inclusive Leader – Initiative
Cole said: “There are two winners because they have both demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting underrepresented groups, challenging those in authority to take action and develop practical support for BAME colleagues in their trust and nationally.”
Fernando said that the Filipino Nurses Association UK was founded “in the midst of this pandemic to amplify the voices of Filipino care workers,” where he dedicated the award to the community.
Goddard said the award meant a lot for him but probably “even more so for the people around me that have seen the things I’ve done or attempted to do.”
4. Compassionate and Inclusive Leader – Role Model
The highly commended nominee was: Birju Bartoli – Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust
Cole said: “The winner has made a significant difference to their trust BAME network, recruitment, selection processes, and talent management action plan. By working with their colleagues in the network and the board, they have seen year-on-year improvement.”
The winner was: Kulvant Sandhu – Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
5. Workforce Innovator of the Year
The highly commended nominee was: Bindu Kurien – Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Cole said: “The winner(s) worked in their own time to address inequalities and improve outcomes for BAME staff ensuring a culture where they can thrive and have worked closely with key stakeholders in the trust to make change.”
Cole also said they attempted to educate the wider workforce and “set up noticeboards” educating others about “Black Lives Matter” and suggested, “books and films to watch to improve knowledge to become actively anti-racist.”
In reaction to their win, the pair said they hoped the awards would inspire other healthcare workers to “continue to do the meaningful work they are doing.”
To view the entire shortlist of nominees for this year’s awards, click here.