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Inclusion and Diversity

We believe in supporting everyone to be the best that they can be. We will enable individuals to bring their whole self to work and thrive. It’s one of the four key drivers behind our workforce strategy.

We promote an inclusive culture by supporting people to learn together to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and of others and using this understanding to ensure the delivery of excellent care.

We have built upon our core values, especially 'working together’, within our three-year strategy to ‘be inclusive, diverse and fair’ by defining and measuring how we promote inclusion within our action plan and by setting standards within our equality and diversity policy.

We have three core objectives to help us achieve inclusion which are summarised below:

Establish a diverse reverse mentoring scheme

The first equality objective is to establish a remove mentoring scheme toolkit and to match a first cohort of at least five mentors and mentee pairs. The scheme will include successive cohorts in future years.

We have reviewed existing frameworks and models, to learn from best practice and recognise the importance of preparation support for potential mentors and mentees.

Reverse mentoring helps colleagues to better understand each other’s lives and improve inclusion in the workplace.

What is a reverse mentor?

Mentors ask questions that interrupt the assumed knowledge and traditional power of mentees. The mentors and the mentees collaborate by identifying what could be improved in the workplace or in our communities and working together on a shared initiative to improve it.

It is anticipated that the outcomes will include improved workforce representation at all levels and positive reports of staff experience about equality of opportunity as measured through the staff survey for staff from all social groups; delivering on our commitments in the national workforce race and disability equality standards, and the aspirational targets for BAME representation.

Develop inclusive leaders and allies

The second equality objective is to continue to develop the 1-day ‘Inclusive Leader’ course, building on the progress in year one (2019-20) where approximately 100 staff completed the course. Completion allows attendees to optionally become ‘Inclusion Allies’; delivering the package of support for which will be the main focus of work for 2020-21.

What is an ally?

An ally is a person who is not only committed to social equality but someone who is willing to do the work of social justice from an informed position. Allies work to support diverse groups in our workplaces and communities with which they may not necessarily identify with as members.

Whilst the one-day inclusive leader course is a chance for staff to learn about social identity, to build positive relations at work, to reduce prejudice and discrimination, and to enhance their skills, knowledge and motivation to work successfully with all people, the inclusion allies initiative seeks to enhance the support for attendees to develop their inclusive leadership in practice beyond the course.

This work should help improve the likelihood of staff being appointed from shortlisting by ethnic group and by disability status through bias and prejudice reduction learning activities, and improve the perceptions of staff reporting discrimination from managers in the annual NHS staff survey.

For health staff looking to complete the course, please either check out the information on the SCFT staff intranet (log-in required) http://thepulse.sussex.nhs.uk/inclusive-leader.htm

Support staff to tailor care towards cultural needs

The third objective is to support staff to recognise and tailor care towards people’s cultural needs and attend to social and health inequalities.

Cultural competency in health care describes the ability to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviours, including the tailoring of care to meet patients' social, cultural and linguistic needs.

Culturally competent health care acknowledges the importance of culture, incorporates the assessment of cross-cultural relations, recognises the potential impact of cultural differences, expands cultural knowledge, and adapts services to meet culturally unique needs. Ultimately, cultural competency is recognised as an essential means of reducing disparities in health care (2018, Henderson, Horne, Hills et al.)

There are two work-streams under this objective:

  1. Ongoing education of the workforce and our patients in linguistically and culturally appropriate care and understanding of health
  2. Collection and leveraging of patient demographic data to monitor and evaluate the impact of cultural competency on health equity and outcomes

Cultural competence education

The purpose of educating the workforce in cultural competence is:

  • Supporting a workforce that demonstrates the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to work effectively with diverse populations in Sussex
  • Increasing staff capacity to provide care that is culturally and linguistically responsive
  • Assessing staff progress in developing cultural competency
  • Eliminating health disparities, social inequalities and discrimination

Demographic data

The purpose of collecting and leveraging patient demographic data is:

  • Identifying population groups within a system, place, neighbourhood or service area
  • Monitoring individual needs, access, care quality and patterns of health outcomes
  • Ensuring equitable allocation of the Trust’s resources
  • Improving service planning and development to improve care

The research (ibid) points out that expanding cultural competency improves health outcomes, perceived quality healthcare, satisfaction with healthcare, and adherence to treatment and advice, although this will be difficult to measure due to the complexities of culture.


We regularly publish reports about how inclusive, diverse and fair we are as an organisation. These also demonstrate how we comply with the Equality Act 2010 and other regulatory requirements. Some of these key reports are included below:

Annual Equality Reports

We publish a report every year about how well we are achieving our equality objectives, complying within the equality duty and delivering on the NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS2). Previous annual equality reports may be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Workforce Race and Disability Equality Standards

Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES)

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) is a performance tool to enable us to review our employment data against nine indicators of workforce race equality, to produce action plans to close gaps in workplace experience between white and Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) staff, and to improve BME representation at the board level.

Previous WRES submission summaries may be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES)

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a set of ten specific measures that enable us to compare the experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff. We use the data measured to develop local action plans and to demonstrate progress advancing disability equality.

Previous WDES submission summaries may be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Interpreting and communication support

If you speak little or no English and would benefit having things explained in a language you are more comfortable with, we can arrange for professional interpreting services to be available at your appointment or during your visit.

If you would like to discuss any communication or other support needs that you may have, please contact a member of staff using the contact details on your appointment letter or admissions letter to arrange support.

Interpreting services

The main organisations we work with are:

Sussex Interpreting Services (SIS) provider of face-to-face overseas language interpreters
Vandu Language Services – provider of face-to-face overseas language interpreters
Action Deafness – provider of face-to-face British Sign Language and lip speaking interpreters
Language Line – provider of telephone overseas language interpreters

Information in different formats

We can also arrange for letters or patient information to be supplied in different formats including:

Overseas languages
Easy Read
Audio format
Electronic formats

Spiritual and pastoral care

Spiritual and pastoral care is part of holistic care and, therefore, everyone’s business. All SCFT staff members are interested in what is most important to those in their care. The professional lead in this area within the Trust is provided by chaplaincy, headed by the Spiritual Care Lead for the Trust, David Knight.

Changes to Spiritual and Pastoral Care at SCFT

In 2019, the Trust decided to create the new post of Spiritual Care Lead. This new post is designed in part to contribute to staff wellbeing and in part to design a strategy for spiritual care across the trust.

There is currently a programme of recruitment of volunteer local Spiritual Care Team Leaders. The named volunteer Spiritual Care Team Leader for each community hospital is supported by other volunteers. Many of our community hospitals already have this service, the rest soon will.

Our chaplaincy and spiritual care services can be accessed by any patient, family member or member of staff.

In the longer term, there are plans for a new community spiritual care service, called ‘Listening Ear’. Listening Ear teams will represent a variety of beliefs reflecting their local area, and will be accessed through SCFT staff based in the community.

Spiritual and Pastoral care at SCFT: our promise

Chaplains and other spiritual care workers at SCFT promise:

  • To make your starting point, their starting point;
  • To listen respectfully;
  • To keep confidences;
  • To put you in touch, if you ask them to, with your own belief group or religious community.

Our chapels and prayer rooms

Some of our community hospitals have dedicated chapels and prayer rooms. Please contact the team (see below) for more information. Staff members who require prayer rooms can also speak to their line manager who can assist them to find a suitable space.

Opportunities for prayer and meditation

  • Many of our chapels and prayer rooms offer regular opportunities for guided worship. Details will be advertised locally. In addition, these spaces are open for prayer, meditation, or just peace and quiet, at all times. We hope very much that whoever you are, and whatever you believe, you will feel welcome to make use of these facilities.
  • Muslim prayer, with prayer mats, is provided for in all of our chapels and prayer rooms.
  • In addition, SCFT staff members are able to access opportunities for meditation to promote wellbeing. Please contact the Spiritual Care Lead for details.
  • The SCFT Spiritual Care Lead, David Knight, is available directly on knight15@nhs.net , or on 07787 860667, or through any member of SCFT staff
  • Many of our community hospitals have well-established chaplaincy and spiritual care teams who visit the wards regularly. If the ward staff do not have contact details to hand, David can put you in touch with them
  • Other sites and services maintain links with local faith leaders and volunteers. Please contact your member of staff for further information.

Contact us

Please note that SCFT does not offer a spiritual care on-call service.

It is important, therefore, that if you are staying in one of our hospitals, or are in the care of one of our community teams, that you should let a staff member know about any faith leader you might want to call on. The person’s name and contact details can then be recorded in your notes.