Dr Cait Taylor, GP and Joint Clinical Director and Chair of the Tackling Racial Inequality Working Group, Central Liverpool Primary Care Network

The formation of Primary Care Networks has provided a huge opportunity for us to help drive the large-scale changes that are needed to tackle health inequalities.

In 2020, Central Liverpool Primary Care Network responded to the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact of COVID-19 on our ethnic minority patients and colleagues by making a clear anti-racism commitment. We are the most ethnically diverse network in Liverpool and there is clear evidence that fair treatment of workers is linked to a better experience of care for patients. We prioritised tackling racial inequality as an ongoing workstream and started looking at interventions that we could implement to address race inequalities and inclusion. It is vital that our workers have a psychologically safe route for raising all concerns, including any due to racial discrimination.

We started having conversations with the National Guardian’s Office in 2020 and are very honoured to have since become the first Primary Care Network in England to have appointed a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. We will also be appointing Freedom to Speak Up Champions in each of our nine practices to link in with our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. Our aim is to encourage all workers to speak up for the purposes of support, improving staff experiences, and also learning as an organisation.

Dr Laura Power, GP and Central Liverpool Primary Care Network Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

I was already very interested in the excellent work from our local Primary Care Network Tackling Racial Inequalities Working Group, so when I saw the job advert to become the first Primary Care Network Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, I immediately knew this was the perfect opportunity to help to make a real difference for my colleagues by utilising my lifelong passion for inclusion and equality.

Naturally, being the very first Primary Care Network Freedom to Speak Up Guardian was daunting at first when I have been so used to simply being a General Practitioner and I was nervous when I started my training. However, when I attended the first training session and listened to the inspirational examples of other guardians, my worries flew away, and I was keen to get started with the role.

We have spent some time perfecting the launch of the service and it will be going live at the end of this month. I’m looking forward to writing another update again in a year to let you all know how we are getting on and perhaps even inspire other Primary Care Networks across the country to appoint their own guardians.

This featured as a guest blog in our July newsletter. You can download a copy here.