Upholding equality, diversity, and inclusion in times of financial cutbacks
As a professional navigating the financial landscape of the NHS and large public sector organisations, I find myself facing a complex array of challenges, particularly when it comes to sustaining equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives. I’ve noticed an ironic twist that can’t be ignored: the risk of diminishing support for EDI at a time when, arguably, this support becomes more critical. This paradox is something I, along with others in the healthcare sector, recognise well. We understand that financial cutbacks can inadvertently lead to a reduced focus on EDI, potentially undermining the very fabric of inclusive health services.
Financial constraints often force hard choices, and EDI initiatives can be perceived as ancillary rather than integral. This is a significant risk. For me, EDI isn’t just about meeting statutory requirements; it’s about ensuring equitable access to health services, adopting a workforce as diverse as the population it serves, and creating inclusive environments where everyone’s health needs are met without prejudice or bias.
Despite these financial pressures, our commitment to EDI remains steadfast. At NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU’s Inclusion Unit, we are acutely aware of the necessity of EDI and position ourselves as allies to organisations during these trying times. Our suite of services is designed to maintain and enhance EDI support without imposing further financial burdens. From high-level appraisals to strategy improvements and targeted training, our team offers strategic support to ensure that EDI remains at the heart of all public sector services, regardless of the economic climate.
As an EDI practitioner, I am acutely aware of the irony: when resources are scarce, the principles of inclusion can guide us in making more compassionate and judicious decisions. It’s during these times that the NHS’s commitment to an inclusive health service is truly tested, and The Inclusion Unit stands ready to ensure that this commitment does not waver. The message we uphold is clear: financial challenges should catalyse innovation in EDI practices, not contribute to their decline.
For those seeking assistance in navigating these complexities and to discover how we can support your EDI initiatives, please visit our equality and inclusion page: NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU’s The Inclusion Unit.
A blog by Robert Beardall, Inclusion Unit Project Manager at MLCSU
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