NHS Employers has announced that Together is to become the first charity member of the NHS Equality and Diversity Partnership.

Alongside the NHS Business Services Authority, Together’s inclusion is the first time a mental health charity and national body have been involved in the programme.

Diversity hugely important
The Partners were selected by the NHS Employers organisation to contribute to its programme of work on equality and diversity and will help spread good practice, learning and expertise throughout the NHS for the benefit of staff and patients.

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: "The NHS is incredibly diverse and that’s something we don't celebrate enough, as diversity is hugely important for providing good care for our citizens.

"There’s never been a time in the NHS when it’s been more important to embrace equality and diversity to its fullest extent. The involvement of a mental health charity for the first time will help us put individuals’ concerns within the wider context of ensuring the NHS delivers the best care it can."

Importance of staff feeling included
The NHS Employers organisation is also coordinating the NHS Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week this week (13-17 May), which includes events throughout the NHS, as well as supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May).

Cashain David, director of operations and development at Together, said: "We are proud to have been chosen as the first charity to work in partnership with the NHS on this vital issue. People with mental health needs will most likely have already experienced exclusion at least once in their lives; we want to ensure that they are not discriminated against further.

"We believe that if staff feel respected and included, they are more likely to work with others in an inclusive way and be better placed to respond to the individual needs of marginalised groups and their wider local communities. We look forward to further developing our commitment to best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion, and to sharing our experiences with others in the programme.”

Better health outcomes for all
The Partners were selected by NHS Employers for:
• Improving patient access and experience
• Empowered, engaged and well-supported staff
• Inclusive leadership at all levels
• Better health outcomes for all
• Demonstration of commitment to the Partners programme
• How will your organisation benefit from the Partners programme

For more information visit www.nhsemployers.org/equalityweek2013