This year the Muslim Network Health Collaboration hosted a wonderful event to celebrate Hajj, Eid and Health inequalities. It was a great afternoon that was well attended with senior leaders within the NHS, including Baroness Dido Harding, NHS England and Improvement Chair, and Amanda Pritchard, NHS England and Improvement Chief Operating Officer. The afternoon talks covered a wide variety of topics such as a personal reflections of undertaking a religious pilgrimage, the need for diversity and inclusion in the workforce across the NHS and how the health inequalities in the Muslim community are being addressed with an excellent example of collaborative working from North Staffordshire.
Dr Habib Naqvi, Deputy Director for WRES at NHS England and Improvement, made a very compelling case for diversity and inclusivity for the NHS workforce but shared just how far we have to go on this journey; with only 8 BAME CEOs (out of 231 Trusts) 9 Chairs, 11 Executive Directors of Nursing and 37 Medical Directors. Less than 6% very senior managers are from BAME backgrounds with only 7% overall BME board representation. This is with a 1.4 million workforce and 20% of staff from a BME background – we still have a long way to go for true inclusivity!
The issue of improving HPV vaccine uptake amongst the Muslim youth was an excellent example of collaborative working that was shared by North Staffordshire. Bringing Muslim clinicians who were respected and trusted by the community, to engage with the vaccination process supported by non- clinical non-Muslim staff. Which gave a great model that could be replicated in other regions and for other health inequalities.
The event left me feeling motivated and humbled by the truly inspirational people working to improve the lives of Muslims.
Dr Myra Malik is an Anaesthetist practising in London and Vice Chair of the Muslim Doctors Association.