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Racial equality placed front and centre for the county’s Integrated Care System (ICS)

4 August 2021

A firm commitment to racial equality, diversity and inclusion has been placed front and centre today by health leaders at the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS) – the partnership which brings together health and care organisations across the county.

As important steps towards reducing inequalities and creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness, a statement of intent and a series of pledges have been launched drawing a clear line in the sand with regard to racial equality.

The pledges, which are being launched to coincide with South Asian Heritage Month, have been endorsed by the ICS leadership and CEOs of the organisations that make up the ICS, including all NHS organisations in the county, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Councils, as well as Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Healthwatches.

The pledges forcefully reject all forms of racism and discrimination, commit to protecting and promoting equality, and increasing awareness of bias and injustice. The pledges are available on the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS website and will be followed by an action plan later in the year to enact the commitments outlined within the document.

The commitments are set out under three sections – leadership and governance, workforce and work – and speak directly to the ICS pledges which include tackling ill health, health inequalities and access to healthcare. They also fulfil the system’s aspiration to improve leadership and governance and make the system a great place to work.

Sir Neil McKay, Independent Chair of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS, said: “There are countless examples that show inequality, racism and discrimination is still experienced by ethnic minorities across the world, and there is clear evidence that racism and discrimination cause health inequalities.

“As an ICS, we need to recognise that we all have a role to play in addressing these inequalities and committing to the pledges which will act as a ‘golden thread’ through the work the system delivers.

“We are now collectively pledging consistent attention and actions which are visible and practical to tackle the deep-rooted issues that lie behind systemic racial inequalities.

“Although we acknowledge that these pledges are not the complete answer, we believe they are important steps towards reducing inequalities, creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness in our workplaces and cultivating meaningful change for our communities.”

Dr Priya George, Shropshire GP and Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It’s time for transformative action to make Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, and indeed the UK as a whole, a better place to live and work for everyone - where equality is front and centre.

“Being a woman of colour, I understand first-hand how prevalent racism still is within our society and that sadly we need a statement like this to remind people of that. I’m delighted that we are working to raise awareness of the issue and that the system recognises how important this is. It gives me hope that things can start changing for the better.

“We need to see people from all backgrounds standing together - rejecting racism in all forms and raising awareness of the bias and injustice so many minorities have faced for generations.

“These pledges mean we must work together with our communities, in our words and in our actions, to create a better future in which everyone enjoys the same freedoms, rights and opportunities.”

Page last updated 4 August 2021