Celebrating Black History Month – Saluting our Sisters

Black History Month honours the contributions and achievements of Black people in Britain now and throughout history, and how Black History influences our present and our future world. This month is an opportunity for everyone at Bromley Healthcare to celebrate our Black colleagues, address the inequalities faced by people from minority ethnic backgrounds – both in our workforce and the communities that we serve, and inspire an inclusive, supportive culture for everyone.

The theme of ‘Saluting our Sisters’ highlights the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities.

Black women have been instrumental in shaping the NHS. As frontline nurses, doctors, community carers, clinical practitioners, researchers and executives, their contributions and reach extend across the NHS. Yet, their efforts are often underrepresented and overlooked.

Recognising and celebrating the significant roles Black women play not only honours their contributions but also serves as a critical step in tackling institutional biases. Their experiences and perspectives enrich the NHS, making it a more inclusive and effective healthcare system for all.

To celebrate Black History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on some of our excellent Black and Mixed heritage female and non-binary colleagues at Bromley Healthcare:

Carla, Occupational Therapist

Carla is a brilliant, kind, caring and compassionate colleague who brings the best care to our patients and their families. A relative of a patient said:

“I wanted to take a moment to express my thanks to Carla Jefferson, who looked after my mother’s occupational therapy needs this year. Sadly, I lost Mum [in August], but Carla was so helpful organising the equipment she needed and reviewing her needs in detail in her last year. I will always be grateful for the support. Carla was very knowledgeable, professional, efficient, and caring.

I have had many experiences with health care professionals since 2016 in relation to my mother, Shirley, and Carla was one of a few that stood out as being excellent at their job. I felt that we were being listened to and given all the options. She explained things really well. She also followed things through. Her pleasant and polite demeanour always made you feel that things were in hand. She would often call out of hours to get things done!

Carla handled a particular situation really well in my mum’s last days… I really appreciated her support. Please pass on my thanks…She is a credit to the team.”

Dr Nike Dare, Clinical Director for Urgent Community Response and Consultant Geriatrician

Dr Dare’s role at Bromley Healthcare involves the oversight of various urgent community response services including the Falls team, Rapid Response, Rehabilitation pathways, and more. A significant part of her focus is around the new innovative One Bromley Adult’s Hospital at Home service, which provides hospital care for people in the comfort of their own home.Dr Dare says of her career as a Black woman working in healthcare, and of her experiences at Bromley Healthcare:

“During my journey, I’ve navigated challenges magnified by gender and racial bias, from facing prejudice during job applications and a slower career progression due to having qualified overseas, to enduring difficult working conditions as a new mother. Along the way, I’ve worked with some fantastic colleagues who have championed diversity, recognised excellence, and nurtured potential. Their support and encouragement have been crucial.

The NHS has evolved since I joined in 1991, fostering greater awareness and inclusion, and I look forward to the progress that is being made to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues. Bromley Healthcare is forward-moving in this respect, with a dedication to championing diversity, fostering a culture of belonging, and building networks like the Race, Equality and Cultural Heritage network (REACH), which is one of the best networks I’ve been part of during my career! It’s vital to continue cultivating an environment where prejudice is challenged, and true inclusion thrives.”

Our Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich Health Visiting Teams

Our Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich Health Visiting teams are a diverse and dedicated group of professionals committed to delivering exceptional care in the community. The photos you see feature some of our outstanding Black colleagues from the Greenwich team. Their achievements include enhancing communication pathways with local hospitals, improving family engagement, and ensuring quality of service through meticulous record-keeping. They have also been instrumental in workforce development, including mentorship programs for new leaders, innovative staffing solutions, and training initiatives that keep us at the forefront of community healthcare.

Caroline, Service Lead, says: “We are so fortunate to work with such a talented, strong and diverse team. It’s the power of this diversity that helps to drive our success as a service.”

Our Nursing team at the Foxbury Rehabilitation Ward

Bromley Bed-based Rehabilitation at Foxbury (Queen Mary Hospital Sidcup) is designed for patients who need extra rehabilitation support. They might not require the acute care typical of a hospital but are not yet ready to return home. Our Black and Mixed heritage female nurses bring so much excellence to the team – compassion, quality care, camaraderie, humour and positivity to our patients, making the ward a great place to work and receive care.

Foxbury Ward Manager, Bercy, says: “The diversity of our team is one of our greatest strengths. Each member brings unique experiences and perspectives that enhance our patient care and team dynamic. It’s crucial for us to recognise and celebrate this diversity and everything that it brings to the field of healthcare.”