As most of you should know now, we will be submitting both Faculty of Medicine and Institutional Athena Swan Charter Silver level renewal applications this year. Many people are spending a substantial amount of time in the preparation work. The length of the document, the complexity of the data and analysis and the balance between aspiration and achievable action plans is non-trivial – for those of you who have never seen one, the submission document can be the size of a PhD thesis and certainly requires as much care and attention to present. Faculty members are playing prominent roles in Faculty and Institutional Charter self-assessment teams and I want to once again thank all members of the Faculty who are contributing so effectively to work on equality, diversity and inclusivity.  Brian Yuen received a Shine-a-Light award for his hard work on presenting data for the Faculty submission and at the Equality Charters Programme Board this morning Medicine contributors were commended – specifically Alex Recio-Saucedo for her work on the Race Equality Charter and Ben Coles for his contribution to the Technicians Charter work. 

What has become very clear over the past few years is that our focus as an institution has been in the wrong place – on the paperwork rather than the people. Only by focusing strongly on our culture and deeply embedding ED&I in every decision we take will we start to shift the dial to a more diverse and representative community at all levels and in all career paths. Our students are far more diverse than our staff so we shouldn’t be short of talent from very diverse backgrounds. The COVID-driven busting bureaucracy direction of travel for healthcare and NIHR and UKRI research is particularly welcome at the present time. Although this may reduce the time and effort needed to demonstrate the characteristics and culture of our organisation, the requirement to demonstrate that we have ED&I at the heart of the organisation will be ever more important for our sustainability as REF and grant funders focus increasingly on organisations providing an inclusive environment. 

Recognising the need for actions that will support ED&I, we have just initiated two actions aimed at supporting more diverse recruiting. Trained by a newly appointed HR manager, a network of support staff will be identified to support recruitment specifically with an EDI perspective, they will be trained and have oversight from start to finish for internal and external appointments. A rapid data display dashboard is being created that will provide agile and easy to understand data showing gender and ethnic breakdown for employee mix across faculties and schools. The data dashboard will be viewable at any point in time but will provide reports to support our quarterly EDI committee reviews and rapidly spot, analyse and address areas of concern.

Finally, another fact staff perhaps know already – the gender pay gap in England is about 15.5% across all employees. As we enter a round of ACCEA applications, it is noteworthy that the gap is more like 24% amongst doctors. The reasons are complex but staff can hear Professor Dame Janet Dacre’s summary thoughts about the gender pay gap in Medicine here (starting at 48 minutes), she draws on the findings of her DHSC commissioned Independent review of gender pay gaps in medicine in England. Dame Janet’s talk was given at the recent RCP virtual conference linked to in last week’s eNews noting a talk from Professor Sir Stephen Holgate in the same session.

Working to improve the equality, diversity and inclusion within the Faculty by Professor Diana Eccles

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