Dr Tim Ferris appointed executive sponsor of BAME network for the NHS

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NHS National Transformation Director Dr Tim Ferris has been appointed Executive Sponsor of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network (BAME).

The BAME Network is a membership organization that aims to help maintain a safe and positive working environment for BAME staff in the NHS, eliminate racial discrimination, and help develop and maintain a representative workforce with inclusive leadership.

In an internal email seen by IT health newsFerris said the transformation direction aims to recover and transform services in light of COVID-19 through national priority programs, including improving the health of the population and reducing inequalities.

Last month it was announced that tech organizations NHSX and NHS Digital (NHSD) would merge in the direction of transformation alongside the direction of improvement and innovation, research and life sciences. . Ferris took on the new role of Chief Transformation Officer in May.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

COVID-19 has revealed health disparities across the country, with higher death rates among people from ethnic minorities, particularly of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean descent.

There has been some debate over the cause of this disparity, with concerns raised about potential systematic racial biases in the NHS, such as the issue of blind race data.

THE BROADER CONTEXT

NHS England has responded to backlash and accusations of potential bias by committing to release ethnic data on people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last month, the UK government launched a review of the impact of potential biases in the design and use of medical devices, which will account for biases in data / artificial intelligence (AI) tools based on algorithms.

ON THE RECORD

Ferris said, “We have to be diverse and representative if we are to be successful, and I am personally committed to this cause. I am honored to have been appointed Executive Sponsor of the BAME Network for the NHS. In addition to assuming our direct responsibilities as a leadership team, we will maintain the momentum that has already been developed to tackle these issues through programs such as diversity and inclusion training, and spaces safe so that colleagues can discuss issues that concern them.

Jabeer Butt OBE, CEO of the Race Equality Foundation, said: “Senior sponsorship and buy-in is crucial to ensure that any issues raised by internal networks are thoroughly addressed and that the leadership of the organization provides leadership. ‘example. We hope that Dr Tim Ferris’s involvement, especially given his background in advocating for the use of prevention and data to reduce inequalities, will help propel positive change for racial equality within the NHS. . “

Director of Medical Strategy at Numan and fourth most influential BAME technology leader in 2019, Professor Sam Shah said, “The reaffirmation of the diversity agenda and the focus on BAME is only helpful if this time around, it is more than empty words.

The former NHSX chief digital officer concluded: ‘Many will recall that both the NHSX and the NHSD have made similar statements in the past, but many within these organizations have yet to see tangible change at the top or transparent recruitment. “


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