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Staff Networks - Equality & Diversity

Here at Newcastle Hospitals we believe that all members of staff should be able to work within an organisation which supports equality and diversity.

Our Staff Networks were established to support members of staff in their working lives and to promote awareness of equality and inclusion within the Trust.

You can find out more about our Staff Networks here.

Below are some quotes from our staff about working within Newcastle Hospitals.


"I love the fact I can be myself"

My name is Mark Ellerby-Hedley and have been ‘out’ since 1989. I faced a lot of stigma and discrimination at work during my time working as a supermarket manager, my staff were great and really supportive but senior managers were less so. During my time working for Newcastle Hospitals it has been a completely different story, everyone I’ve come into contact with has been fantastic and very supportive. I love the fact I can be myself and not have to worry about what people will think (I even get chance to play the odd bits of Eurovision in the office). 

Last year was an amazing year personally,  as after 17 years together myself and my partner were married on our anniversary, this was a big deal as pre 2014 UK law prevented us from showing our commitment to each other in this way.  

The introduction of the LGBT Staff network and been a really positive step forward, it’s a privilege to be part of it and having the backing of senior management in the Trust is really important. It was fantastic to see the trust being so supportive around LGBT issues again this year and flying the LGBT Rainbow Flag made me feel very proud.  

I’d like to encourage anyone who would like to join us and become part of the LGBT Network to do so, it will give you an opportunity to have a voice and suggest ways in which the Trust can improve the working environment so more people feel comfortable being ‘out’ at work. 

"If we put patients at the heart of everything we do, then we also need to put our hearts into ensuring all of our staff feel valued"

I am gay. No big deal! Great if you think like that but the sad thing is that actually when I first came to work for the Trust nearly 6 years ago, it wasn’t like that, and that was why I got involved in the LGBT Network right from the beginning.

The network started off slowly (putting your head above the parapet is a scary proposition!) but I knew it was the right thing to do as I wanted to help set up and be part of a like-minded group of people, where I could chat about issues, challenge and change the status quo regarding equality and diversity and just generally feel comfortable in my own skin at work.   The LGBT network has gone from strength to strength, I was proud to serve as Chair for two years, and was glad to be the chair for the first raising of the LGBT Flag on both the Freeman and RVI sites, it felt monumental and showed a real commitment from the trust to support its LGBT staff and diversity in general. 

We work in full collaboration,  and continue to move forward. There is still a lot to do though, we genuinely want the Trust to continually raise its standards by becoming the best “inclusive” employer in the North East supporting its diverse range of staff to be the best at what they do.

If we put patients at the heart of everything we do, then we also need to put our hearts into ensuring  all  of our staff feel valued, respected and supported  at work, to enable them to do their job to the best of their ability.  We need to truly reflect the community we serve.

"People work best when they can bring themselves whole to the workplace"

My name is Rachel Agbeko. I am a Consultant Paediatric Intensive Care Consultant and Associate Clinical Director for the Children’s Directorate.

People work best when they can bring themselves whole to the workplace. I’m glad that the Trust supports an LGBTQ network as it sends a strong signal that we have an inclusive and supportive climate.

What matters most is that we do our work to the best we can. This is enabled by being who we are without having to think about choosing our words when talking about our families or how we spent our time away.

In my clinical and administrative practice there is a strong team ethic, one which allows each of us to be who we are and perform as best as we can. I have no doubt that I would perform less well if had to hide. What matters is being there for our patients, fully focussed and not distracted from the job.

"The Staff network is a good place to share experiences and also to ask for advice in a safe confidential space."

I have been an NHS Chaplain with Newcastle Hospitals for ten years. I enjoy working within a Trust that is so diverse and forward thinking. No two days are ever the same which means I never  know what a shift is going to bring. I spend a lot of my time journeying alongside patients, relatives and the staff be that on the wards or in the chapel of rest. I have the privilege of being with people at the very best and the very worst of times. I enjoy coming to work every day and am proud to be a part of a team that values and supports me. As a former army officer I particularly recognise how being a part of this Trust, echoes my experiences of good leadership and a strong team ethos.

It is great to be a part of the LGBT staff network for a variety of reasons. It is a way of feeding back good and bad behaviours or examples of working practice across the Trust. We are involved in research and developing training with organisations and individuals including Stonewall and thus raising the profile of LGBT people and their needs. The Staff network is a good place to share experiences and also to ask for advice in a safe confidential space.

"I joined the Trusts LGBT staff network because I wanted to help promote inclusivity with the organisation and beyond"

I have worked as a nurse in the Trust for 5years and currently work as a Clinical Educator.

I joined the Trusts LGBT staff network because I wanted to help promote inclusivity with the organisation and beyond

The Trust continuously promotes equality for staff and I am proud to be part of something that will shape the future for prospective employees.

“The Trust is committed to supporting the LGBT community”

I’m Michelle and I feel very fortunate and very proud to be a part of a trust that is wholly committed to showing its support for the LGBT community.

Being able to see the rainbow flag displayed at the RVI and the Freeman Hospital and even in the lanyards displayed by members of staff including myself makes me feel a part of the bigger picture.

It reminds me that as a gay nurse specialist I am no different and I am supported to be who I am.

"Working to breakdown stereotypes and celebrate diversity"

About six months after starting a new role as project manager in the Trust, I saw an advert on the intranet for the LGBT network. I had never been involved in any kind of group like this, especially not in a work environment, but I was curious to find out more about the support that is available and if there were any opportunities for me to take a more active role as a way of giving back to the community. I met with the LGBT Chair for a coffee and a chat – the relaxed, friendly introduction was ideal and played a big part in my wanting to join the network. So far, I haven’t been directly involved in any events but it’s reassuring to know that there is a whole group of people out there, with Trust backing, who I could turn to for support. It’s also empowering to know that it’s OK to be out at work and that the Trust is actively looking to expand the network, working to breakdown stereotypes and celebrate diversity. I’m very much looking forward to being part of a bigger cultural movement as the network grows and accomplishes great things!

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