As part of the national AHSN Network, we signed up to a series of pledges to support diversity and inclusivity in healthcare innovation. The Network launched the pledges in September 2019, along with a special report celebrating the contribution and stories of innovators from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds

Our pledges are:

We commit to empowering and supporting staff to be positive role models for equality and diversity

  • We will undertake positive action to ensure our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities we serve including steps to ensure diversity at all levels
  • We will encourage our staff to positively challenge and promote positive action when they see a lack of diversity
  • All AHSN staff will have undertaken unconscious bias training by the end of 2020

We commit to understanding the impact of our work on all members of our communities and for our work to reflect the equality and diversity within these communities

  • We will carry out Equality Analysis on all national and key local projects and programmes
  • We will actively engage with, and involve, diverse communities in our work, ensuring we include people from marginalised and seldom-heard groups
  • Our publications and communications will promote diversity, highlight diverse role models, challenge stereotypes and champion the positive impact of diversity on innovation

We commit to implementing a recognised process to self-assess and improve equality performance in each of our organisations

  • We will set annual Equality Diversity Inclusion (EDI) objectives, report on these to our Boards and publish achievements and challenges in our annual reports
  • We will have a designated person within each AHSN with whom concerns about equality and diversity can be raised
  • The AHSN Network will annually review and publish its collective performance, including performance for any national programmes, for example ensuring diverse representation in decision making processes for the NHS Innovation Accelerator.

Featured in the report were two innovators involved in the work of the West of England AHSN: Alan Bec, who took part in our Health Innovation Programme boot camp and founder of the Wellbeing Indicator Badge; and Dr Seema Srivastava, Consultant Physician & Associate Medical Director at North Bristol NHS Trust and a member of our Patient Safety Collaborative.

“I was born in Scotland. My mother is British and she fell for my father who came over from India on a boat at 16 – he is Anglo-Indian with mixed eastern cultural heritages. I didn’t know what racism was until we moved to England when I was eight when my dad was promoted. Then we went up in the world, moved to a posh house in the countryside amongst doctors and dentists. I experienced racism from day one.

“But I don’t come from a place of anger; I come from a place of wanting to connect. Healthcare is for all, so must include all! Innovation is the result of the diversity of ideas and experience that drives cutting edge solutions.

“Organisations like AHSNs working in this space need to demonstrate that innovators from all backgrounds and walks of life are not simply ‘welcome’ but also essential to healthcare innovation. It’s exciting that together we are innovating our organisational culture to become genuinely representative. Together we can co-create social innovation and wellbeing for all.”

Alan Bec, Health Innovation Programme delegate and founder of the Wellbeing Indicator Badge (pictured at the top of the page)


Seema Srivastava“I have a passion to strengthen the care provided to patients through QI and have worked with the West of England AHSN through its Patient Safety Collaborative since 2014 to improve patient care across our health community. I was hugely proud to receive an MBE in 2018 for my work in Falls and Patient Safety in the NHS. My Trust and the Patient Safety Collaborative have been incredibly supportive and I’m keen to inspire other women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to be leaders in healthcare improvement.

“I am fortunate that I’ve never felt restricted in my ambitions because of my heritage, culture or colour. I feel much of this has been through my upbringing but also the welcoming NHS environments I’ve found myself in. But I do recognise that not everyone from ethnic minority communities receive such encouragement and support, which is where I think we can proactively do more work.

“Having an inclusive improvement and innovation community is vital in encouraging a diverse range of perspectives and experiences to address the complex issues facing health and social care, today and in the future. If our innovators and change agents don’t represent the population we serve, we risk missing out on those voices and their talent.”

Dr Seema Srivastava, Consultant Physician & Associate Medical Director at North Bristol NHS Trust and a member of our Patient Safety Collaborative