Welsh Ambulance Service publishes ambitious Strategic Equality Plan

The Welsh Ambulance Service has published an ambitious new plan to improve equality among its workforce and communities.

The Trust’s Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024 sets out its commitment to work with staff and volunteers to help them recognise and celebrate diversity. It also outlines how the organisation will ensure the people who use ambulance services, including those with protected characteristics, have equal access.

Claire Vaughan, the Trust’s Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said, “We want to lead the way as an exemplar employer for diversity, equality, inclusion and fairness. This strategy, building on progress and momentum from the previous strategy, sets out how we intend to do this over the next four years to cultivate an inclusive workforce where our people are enabled to realise their full potential, to flourish and make a positive contribution in the delivery of care.

“We have called it Treating People Fairly to reflect our aim; to treat everyone fairly regardless of who they are, their background or circumstances. We know we have more to do to enable a culture that is fully inclusive, supportive and accepting and we’re having conversations about how we can expedite this work in light of recent events.”

Joga Singh, Non-Executive Director with the lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, added, “The celebration of diversity is so important for an organisation’s ability to recruit and retain the best people for the job and also improves productivity, which ultimately, delivers a better experience for the patient.

“We look forward to working with our staff, citizens and stakeholders across health and social care, the public sector and beyond to achieve the ambitions set out in this strategy.”

The launch of the new strategy coincided with a statement that Chief Executive Jason Killens made to the workforce on the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, USA, in May. In a statement to colleagues, Jason said, “There is absolutely no place for racism in the Welsh Ambulance Service. This is not about compliance or about feeling we have a moral and ethical obligation to do something to tackle injustice. This is about it being the right thing to do for our people and our communities.

“It’s about standing up and calling out discrimination and inequality whenever and wherever it manifests. It’s about being a fair and decent human being.”

Jason, who is also Diversity Lead for the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, added, “This is not a problem that can be solved by senior management alone. This is a challenge that requires every single one of us to stand up and be counted; to look closely at our own thoughts, words and deeds, and the actions of others around us.

“We must challenge unacceptable behaviours, whether deliberately malicious or just plain ill-informed, and change our organisation for the better. To do this we need to start by having open, honest and inevitably difficult conversations right across the organisation. From crew rooms to board rooms, we need to listen, learn and redouble our efforts to change unacceptable behaviours if we want to achieve genuine equality in the workplace.”

Click here to read the Trust’s Strategic Equality Plan, Treating People Fairly.