UK Government: Health Minister launches pioneering programme to improve

working lives of NHS staff



Story Filed: Wednesday, November 22, 2000 8:35 AM EST


NOV 22, 2000, M2 Communications - National phase of Positively Diverse

programme launched Health Minister John Denham today launched phase two of

Positively Diverse, an organisational development programme aimed at helping

NHS employers to improve the working lives of staff and increase equality of

opportunity. Mr Denham launched the programme at a national conference of

NHS senior managers and HR professionals held to discuss the findings of the

phase one pilot stage of Positively Diverse.


The Positively Diverse programme was first launched in 1998 and piloted in

37 NHS organisations. The programme helps managers to make the most of the

skills and experiences of the workforce and ensure that everyone has an

equal chance to develop to their full capacity.


The programme is based on listening to staff views and experiences, and

encouraging their participation in developing new ways of working. During

phase two of Positively Diverse, NHS organisations throughout the country

will be offered the opportunity for involvement in the programme.


Mr Denham said "We are determined to make the NHS a better place to work.


Staff in the NHS come from a wide range of backgrounds and with a huge

variety of experience. NHS managers need to know how to make the most of

this, and how to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to make

the most of their skills. We need to ensure that we are making the most of the

available workforce and that people are attracted to the NHS because it

offers staff a fair deal and a chance to reach their full potential.


"The NHS Plan, which we published in July, sets out the standards we want to

see in the NHS to improve the working lives of staff, and make best use of

their skills and experiences. The Staff Participation Taskforce which we set

up in 1998 established that the NHS works best where staff are involved and

their views taken seriously. The conclusions of the Taskforce have been

built into the new Improving Working Lives standard which is the benchmark for

good employment practice across the NHS. We have also now set out our standards

for flexible working lives, tackling violence against staff and tackling

racial harassment. The next challenge is to ensure that these standards are

met right across the NHS.


"Positively Diverse is an integral part of the NHS drive to ensure that all

staff are valued and involved. It helps managers to define what the

organisation needs to do to achieve this objective, shows them ways to move

forward, and puts them in touch with others who have already developed

better ways of working.


"We cannot implement the NHS Plan without the involvement and commitment of

all our staff. They, in turn, have a right to work for a first class

employer. Positively Diverse will play an important part in enabling them to

do so." Good practice examples in the Positively Diverse report, published

at the conference, include: Bradford Community Health NHS Trust which has

pioneered a health apprentice scheme, aimed at attracting young people from

the predominantly Asian local community into the NHS. The Community Health

Trusts has also worked with Bradford Hospitals Trust to run a job shop to

provide advice and support to people interested in a career in the NHS, and

increase access to jobs.


Kings Healthcare NHS Trust, which has set up a leadership development

programme for black and minority ethnic staff at junior and middle

professional level who might be expected to seek promotion. The programme

includes work shops on writing a CV and interview techniques, and offers a

mentoring service.


North Mersey Community NHS Trust, which has focused on improving the working

environment for disabled people. The Trust is accredited with the 'Two

Ticks' symbol, showing its commitment to employing and supporting disabled people.


Notes to editors


1. The Human Resources Performance Framework, announced in the NHS Plan, was

published in early October. For the first time, the way NHS employers treat

their staff is part of core NHS performance measures and linked to the

resources Trusts receive. The Framework sets out targets on recruitment,

training, development and support of staff in order to ensure an expanded

workforce with the skills to deliver the improvements in patient care

announced in the NHS Plan. For example, by April 2001 all NHS employers must

meet the criteria to use the Employment Service 'two ticks' symbol

demonstrating a commitment to recruit and support people with disabilities.


2. The new Improving Working Lives Standard was published with the HR

Framework. This introduces a kite-marking system for NHS employers to

demonstrate how they are improving the working lives of all their staff. By

2003 all NHS employers must be able to demonstrate that they are delivering

flexible working arrangements, family-friendly working practices, healthy


safe work-places and other measures to support staff and improve retention.


3. In October, Mr Denham also announced plans to require all NHS

organisations to set some local targets for the recruitment of Asian, black

and other minority ethnic staff in areas of particularly poor



4. For copies of the Positively Diverse Report


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