This Pride Month, Transform Hospital Group CEO Tony Veverka has spoken about the company’s ongoing focus on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Q. Transform Hospital Group has partnered with some leading LGBTQ+ organisations – why was that?
A. Having grown pretty quickly as a business over the last few years, we’ve become aware of the need to put in place a robust strategy which embraces all kinds of diversity and inclusion, and to place this on a more formal footing.
I believe that we’ve always been an inclusive company, but of course, the fact that we don’t believe that we are inherently biased or non-inclusive doesn’t mean that unconscious bias isn’t there.
The type of work we’ve traditionally carried out in our core business has always been more female-focused, which has led us to us become gender diverse – an area which our latest gender pay gap report showed we were doing well in. Our management board is pretty gender diverse too, and that’s happened organically over time.
However, we recognise there is always room for growth and improvement when it comes to diversity and inclusion, so we decided to make commitments which would help us be truly authentic, as well as allowing us to continuously improve.
Q. Which LGBTQ+ organisations has Transform Hospital Group partnered with, and why?
A. We wanted to begin to gain a clearer understanding of the inequalities and barriers that LGBTQ+ people may experience and translate that into a new, more formal approach to inclusivity within Transform Hospital Group.
It was important to us that we weren’t jumping on any bandwagons or simply ‘pinkwashing’– presenting ourselves as ‘gay-friendly’ through tokenistic activity such as supporting Pride for one month a year. We wanted to make fundamental changes to our culture that would filter through and make the experience for LGBTQ+ patients the best it could be.
We have been working with the LGBT Foundation, on a programme which will see roles created for five LGBTQ+ Ambassadors across Transform Hospital Group – including one of our directors – who will complete their Pride in Practice training modules – a nationally-recognised LGBT inclusion programme which will help us formulate plans for inclusivity activity in the future.
We also took part in the Sparkle weekend last year, the UK’s national transgender charity, which seemed a natural fit for us due to the work we already do with transgender patients.
We’re continually looking for opportunities to work with third party organisations who can advise and enrich our diversity and inclusion approach.
Q. How do you see your LGBTQ+ activity evolving in the coming months and years?
A. I believe that the commitments we’ve made to LGBTQ+ inclusion so far are just the first step. We can always go further to truly walk in our patients’ shoes, whoever they may be.
It’s vital that we’re able to make the time that members of the LGTBQ+ community spend with us the most positive experience it can be, whether that’s being able to use the correct tone and language during conversations or ensuring that our new colleague induction programme doesn’t unconsciously discriminate in any way.
Our LGBT Ambassadors will have completed their Pride in Practice training by early autumn. Through their influence and our LGBTQ+ partnerships, we’ll be more able to understand what needs to change, from staff training to patient marketing material. And we’re already working on implementing new policies that truly embrace inclusion and help us to continue to improve year by year.
I don’t envisage that we will ever be able to pat ourselves on the back and tick ‘inclusivity’ off our organisational to-do list. It’s a complex area which is evolving all the time, and we’ll need to re-examine our progress regularly.
Being truly inclusive won’t happen overnight, but this Pride Month, I’m pretty proud of the progress we’ve made so far.