'Hatred and prejudice has no place in the NHS' says Chief Executive Thea Stein


Dear all

Just as no person is an island, neither is any organisation. I write this on the morning of the American election result, and it feels compelling to write about some of the issues raised today for us as a community of 3,000 people working together and serving the city of Leeds and, for some of our services, Yorkshire and Humber. Whoever had won, we know that what we have been left with is a campaign that unleashed more hate speech, rhetoric about minority groups (in particular Muslims, Mexicans and women) and fear than any election most people can remember.

I don’t know what it must be like waking up today in America if you are Mexican, Muslim, or simply different in some way, but I expect it’s not a comfortable feeling. As a Jewish gay woman, I know a bit about prejudice and being an outsider, but I am also white, middle class and successful – all factors which protect me, and which I can hide behind if I want to. For many people with disabilities, from minority ethnic groups, from the trans community, that isn’t an option.

So why am I writing about this here in a blog? We are not a political organisation and there is no space for political rhetoric in a neutral NHS organisation. And that is precisely my point. We are here to serve everyone equally, and we are here as a community that works together to support each other openly and honestly. Hatred and prejudice has no place in the NHS, and no place in LCH, and today seems like a good day to reaffirm that clearly.

I’ve talked before in my blogs and in face to face meetings with staff about my deep commitment to our vision, values and behaviours, and how they are central to how we work together and how we get through challenging times. My belief that if we hold true to them, we have a strength to survive and thrive even under pressure. At our heart is our vision is to provide the best possible care to every community we serve. One of our values is to treat everyone as an individual and one of our seven behaviours is to care for one another. After Brexit I reminded all our staff that there is no place for any discrimination of any sort at LCH, and that we would support staff who experienced this from the public or from other staff. Today seems a good day again to remind people here about our vision, values and behaviours that increasingly define who we are.

It’s an oft used quote but I feel moved to share it again; “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”. Well I don’t think we can change the world, but we can change ourselves, and we can make our working lives the best it can possibly be for everyone who works here.

Have a good week,