Celebrating Healthcare Excellence: Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

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During our ‘Celebrating Healthcare Excellence’ series, we have spoken to a number of leaders within Bank Partners to learn more about their lives, careers, passions and personal experiences.

In the second in the series, we talk to Candice Berry – Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, who has been kind enough to share her stories of her experience whilst working for the NHS.

Please could you give us some background about you (How long have you worked in healthcare? How/why did you get into the industry? How did you come to be doing the job you’re currently doing?)

I have worked for the NHS for 4 and a half years, having spent 17 years in the Private sector I wanted to join an organisation where I felt I could make a difference and add value to the wider society. I have always had a keen interest in people and Psychology, this led me to qualifications in coaching, counselling and Psychology which piqued my interest in Intersectionality and Social Equality.

I became involved in EDI and supported staff networks and worked closely with EDI leads across the country, I was very passionate about this area and saw huge opportunities for change and where I could make a difference and that lead me here to Portsmouth.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a leader in the healthcare sector?

Do not be afraid to challenge, I found that with such a large and complex industry there are very robust processes, systems and governance to ensure the safety of colleagues and patients however sometimes over time some of these processes or 'ways of doing things' is no longer safe, practical or efficient. So, having the ability to look at what you are doing objectively or listen to new ideas and a culture of continuous improvement is key to staying current and being proactive rather than reactive.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud of the journey, I have had the privilege of working across many industries and meeting fantastic people and I feel really proud of what I was able to accomplish in each of them. I proved to myself that I am adaptable and a problem solver and that has given me confidence that I can apply that wherever I go. That makes me open to change and willing to take risks and it's that approach that brought me to Portsmouth where I have been able to build a team and create a strategy where we are working towards being an Intentionally Inclusive organisation.

As the NHS celebrates its 75th birthday, what do you think is the most important thing that either needs to change or remain the same in order to take the NHS into the future?

The NHS needs to do more to listen to its people and their providers and what they need to thrive. Protect the people, and make them feel valued because they are the ones delivering the service.

How can the healthcare industry in particular make changes that will make senior positions accessible and aspirational to female leaders?

Highlighting role models, equal access to training, exposure and visibility to all opportunities. Removing potential barriers that impact women in the workplace, understanding that this is unique for different work environments.

This is a fantastic insight into the lives of the people that make the NHS what it is – their commitment and passion to causes they believe in, as well as consistently going above and beyond to look after their patients and provide exemplary care. Thank you Candice!

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