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Black History Month 2020: Black Lives Matter

Date: 28 October 2020

Tanoh Asamoah Danso

Tanoh Asamoah-Danso, Vice Chair of the EEAST BME Network shares his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement for Black History Month.

The past few months has seen demonstrations regarding Black Lives matter. Demonstrations seen across the world and in parts of the United Kingdom. The catalyst for this being the untimely death of George Floyd, which followed a similar trend in the manner of similarly untimely police custody deaths of Sandra Bland and fellow Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor. For some of us within NHS and especially our ambulance service it has given the opportunity to discuss the topics relating to institutional racial disparities, health inequalities, white privilege within society, the need for equity and how all these factors can ultimately affect patient care provision.

On numerous recent occasions, it has been mentioned that our current BME staff representation sits at around 3%, meaning the demographic of black staff is even lower, with representation at leadership level almost non-existent. We at EEAST need to do collectively do more to create a service that truly reflects the society it serves. Until there is a clear and witnessed increase in effort and positive action to achieve a service that users can clearly see representation of themselves, black lives matter.

The forefront of our model within EEAST is the desire to provide outstanding patient care for everyone we serve. We should be grateful for the recent distribution of the work by Malone Mukwende, who created “mind the gap”, a book which allows development of learning around clinical signs on black and brown skin. It should be considered that complete care provision of those with dark coloured skin has been limited this entire time. Until we can get to a stage that training and development can fully incorporate black people in the same way it has done and still does for white people, black lives matter.

For us to move forward and build a service with equity within its core values, it is important to we are open to having uncomfortable conversations about race inequalities, listening to the experiences of the minority and the marginalised at all levels within this organisation so we can ensure this is a trust that attracts, nurtures and develops our valuable colleagues from the afro-caribbean diaspora, which in turn will help create a more inviting, inclusive culture, which can only benefit in improving our model of care provision.

  • Summary:

    Tanoh Asamoah-Danso, Vice Chair of the EEAST BME Network shares his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement for Black History Month.