Trusts across West Yorkshire and Harrogate back anti-racism movement

THE six acute hospital trusts across West Yorkshire and Harrogate have reaffirmed their support to the new anti-racism movement – Root Out Racism.

This comes at a time when we, as one of the largest collective employers across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, believe it’s vitally important to speak out and demonstrate our shared anti-racist and anti-discriminatory stance.

As part of the National Health Service we would not be able to provide the care we do to over 2.6 million people without the hard work and commitment from our BAME staff and from those, who often at great personal sacrifice, come from overseas to join the NHS.

Across our hospitals we work diligently to ensure that we value the contribution that every single person makes; irrespective of their background.

Speaking in his position as Medical Lead for WYAAT, Dr Sal Uk, who is also a Consultant Paediatrician at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Following the online racial abuse faced by three young and black England footballers, I know that many of our staff will have been affected by the deplorable actions of those who perpetrated the abuse.

Root Out Racism

“The saddest part for me, and I do not believe I am alone in thinking this, was the inevitability of the abuse.  That is why it’s so important that as a group of trusts we continue to do all we can to support our staff and Root Out Racism.

“This is not about being ‘woke’; it’s about doing the right thing, bringing about positive change and, as we have seen this week, the majority of people bring with them goodness and are prepared to stand strong in the face of racism.  Across WYAAT we stand against racism and discrimination in all its forms,” added Dr Uka.

Across all our hospitals we operate a wide variety of initiatives to ensure that all our employees feel valued, listened to, and have access to a network of support.

At Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, a Reciprocal Mentoring programme was introduced two years ago.  This initiative sees BAME colleagues mentor Board members as learning partners, and vice versa.  Reciprocal mentoring is a valuable opportunity for both sides to share skills, advice and experiences, and to understand each other’s perspective.  Following its success the programme has now been broadened for 2021 to include any colleagues with a protected characteristic.

Commenting on the programme, Joanne Harrison, Director of People and Organisational Development at Airedale NHS FT, said:


“We know, having run a programme for reciprocal mentoring previously, that there is a real need, not only to offer support and development to our BAME colleagues, but also for the senior team to understand how it feels to work here at Airedale.

“Our people have told us through the Staff Survey results that BAME colleagues were having a different and worse experience that our non-BAME staff groups and this was also reflected for colleagues with other protected characteristics.  So, the aim of the programme is to understand those experiences and tackle, where possible, the root causes.  I know from my own experience, and from similar initiatives at other trusts across WYAAT, that sharing these lived experiences is powerful, and is the best way to lead to real and enduring change.”

Root Out Racism is a movement supported by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.  It is due to officially launch next month and will aim to tackle structural and institutionalised racism as well as health and social inequalities.

All organisations are encouraged to join the movement.  You can sign up for FREE resources, ready for the launch in August, by following this link:

In a show of solidarity, and a simple gesture to recognise the contribution of all those that make the National Health Service an international health service, all six trusts will take part in a social media blackout this weekend. From 4pm on Friday (16/7) to 10am on Monday (19/7) every social media account will display the Root Out Racism message.