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Cultural Safety

We live in an increasingly diverse world, and the health and care workforce comprises numerous nationalities and ethnicities. People from many different cultures, who bring rich and varied life experiences, have come to the UK to work and further their careers in health and care. Nearly one in five staff in the NHS report a non-British nationality, the vast majority of whom are from countries in the European Union, Africa or Asia.

However, international recruits to health and care do not always have a positive experience. International recruits can experience individual, organisational and societal discrimination that impacts on their ability to settle into their new home and progress in their workplace, as well as exploitation by some recruitment agencies.

To flourish at work and fulfil our potential, we all need to feel safe: that we are welcomed, respected and supported: that we belong. It means that our cultures and lived experiences are recognised, protected and valued. Cultural safety provides a framework to change professional and organisational ways of thinking to be more inclusive and in doing so, to create more effective teams and systems.

Cultural safety is about “creating a workplace where everyone can examine our own cultural identities and attitudes, and be open-minded and flexible in our attitudes towards people from cultures other than our own. It also requires everyone to understand that their own values or practices are not always or only the best way to solve workplace problems.”

(SafeWork, NSW Government)

The NHS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Improvement Plan recognises the need to enhance the sense of belonging for those groups and communities in the workforce who experience discrimination and disadvantage at work as well as healthcare inequalities. High impact action 5 requires NHS organisations to “Implement a comprehensive induction, onboarding and development programme for internationally-recruited staff.” This means giving international recruits:

  • Clear communication, guidance and support on their employment, any conditions relevant them and their families, financial commitments and career options, prior to joining the NHS.
  • Effective welcome, pastoral support and induction.
  • Managers and teams with cultural awareness to create inclusive and psychologically safe team cultures.
  • The same training, development and career opportunities as the wider workforce.

Cultural Safety training materials

TitleDownloads
Cultural Safety in HealthcareDownload Presentation
#Inclusionstartswith: Film by AccentureAccess Film

Last Updated on 28 June 2024

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