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Patient Voices: WDES stories from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Can you see us?

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – known as CUH – runs Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital, both recognised as centres of medical excellence and innovation and amongst the safest hospitals  in the country.

Their values – to be kind, safe and excellent – are paralleled with the recognition that their patients and staff come from many ethnic, religious, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and have varying health, experiences, beliefs, genders and sexualities.

Equality in the NHS

Under the Equality Act 2010, NHS organisations have what is called a general equality duty. In practice this means that they must:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
  • foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.

The Trust is committed to eliminating discrimination and ensuring equality in care, and embedding their equality and diversity values into policies, procedures and everyday practice. As a part of this, and with the support of NHS Employers and Health Education England, in September 2020, members of staff took part in an online Patient Voices reflective digital storytelling workshop so that they could share, in their own words, their own experiences of working in the NHS.

The hope is that these stories will serve, as Janette Winterson said “as markers and guides, comfort and warning” to those who come to work in the NHS, and those who make and implement policy.

Do you love working in the NHS?
Just because you cannot see what someone is going through doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just because you cannot see a disability doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Invisible disabilities challenge people, they challenge the preconceptions of others, and they are a challenge for managers, systems and cultures.
This story also challenges. It challenges everyone to consider what part they have to play in another person’s experience, to think about how negative behaviours can affect the success of teams, and to acknowledge that ignorance is not an excuse but, instead, an opportunity to learn about each other, adapt accordingly – and make the NHS a better place in which to work!

Do you see me?
Nneka’s life is complex, as ours all are. She is committed, determined and capable. She knows who she is, and what she is going through as she stands in the x-ray room, delivering care to us and our loved ones – but do we really see her, her challenges and her achievements behind the weighty lead apron of professionalism?

A person, not a problem
Rachel felt written off as a child because of her Dyspraxia, but she took up that challenge got a degree and a masters’ and then a job and a home of her own. But then she faced another challenge to overcome – a lack of understanding and adjustments at work. Working with a new and supportive team of colleagues and managers, she has risen above that challenge as well.

Want to make your own stories?

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