Karen Howell, chief executive, Wirral Community Health and Care Foundation Trust, writes for the Globe.

AS an NHS Trust we have over one million contacts with people every year across our health and care services. We need to ensure those services are accessible and appropriate to everyone’s needs across the diverse communities in Wirral and Cheshire East and our Inclusion Strategy helps us do just that!

It gives us a clear approach to equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation and focusses on making sure that people feel valued no matter what, included, listened too and engaged with.

We’re building on the great work that our front line staff do, ensuring that services cater for everyone regardless of age, disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or any other particular characteristics*.

We share good practice across the Trust that sees adjustments being made all of the time that make it easier for excluded or vulnerable people to access our services. We want everyone to have a valued and friendly experience and a good outcome.

To support this work further we have engaged our staff at all levels across the Trust, from those working at the front line of our services to the Board and Governors. Our 60 ‘Inclusion Champions’ highlight and share good practice, spot things we can improve and have recently been involved in a number of activities to promote a positive working culture of inclusion across the Trust and in the local communities:

  • Wirral Coastal Walk - staff from across the organisation got together to promote our commitment to Inclusion with a 15 mile walk 
  • Raft Race at Northwich River Festival - school nurses won a race and also took the accolade of best dressed team on their dragon themed raft, wearing their Inclusion t-shirts
  • Liverpool City Region Pride - staff supported the event and marched in the parade with neighbouring NHS colleagues
  • Men’s Health Week - our campaign focussed on some very topical and hard hitting subjects impacting on both our male communities and workforce
  • A menopause awareness wellbeing event - support for female colleagues, whilst working with managers to identify ways we can make the working day that little bit easier
  • Chester Pride, Saturday 10 August - join the fun and show your support to LGBTQ+ communities, family members and colleagues. Follow us on Twitter @wirralct and Facebook @nhsbuzz

Alongside these activities we have also re-energised a number of staff network groups and the Inclusion and Partnership Forum which brings together Trust staff and other people from NHS, public, voluntary and community sectors. These forums provide staff and group members with the opportunity talk openly about any barriers or issues they face in work, share ideas and areas of good practice and identify gaps in service provision.

We want to be an organisation where people can come to work in the confidence that they will be welcomed and included by their colleagues and their wellbeing will be improved.

We’re striving for inclusion to be at the heart of everything we do - we want to ‘get it right for everyone’.

*Nine protected characteristics - age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.