NHS North West has paid tribute to people from black and minority ethnic communities in the region for their contribution to the health service over the last 60 years.

As part of the celebr8 (don't discrimin8) festival of diversity, NHS North West called on people from these communities to share their stories and experiences of working in the health service during its 60th anniversary celebrations.

The event highlighted the significant contributions people from overseas and minority communities in the UK have made to the health service in the last 60 years.

Guests and speakers included people who have worked for diversity and equality in the North West and descendants of some of the NHS's first migrant workers.

Rich heritage

NHS North West associate director equality and diversity Shanaz Ali said: "Since the formation of the NHS in 1948, BME communities have played a significant role in the health service.

"The North West has always had such a rich and diverse cultural heritage, so this celebratory event was a way of sharing people's thoughts, experiences and feelings about diversity, and to help stimulate debate and raise awareness of the benefits equality and diversity bring to our region through the health service."

The event showcases how diversity benefits society culturally, socially and economically. The festival raises awareness and recognition by:

  • celebrating the wealth of diversity across the North West;
  • encouraging people to see diversity as an asset to the region;
  • bringing together different groups of people.

Reaching out

North West Equality and Diversity Group chair Christine Burns said: "Business is facing an increasingly diverse environment, whether through customers, employees or markets, here and abroad. North West business needs to take its lead from the NHS and harness and embrace this diversity in increasingly competitive markets. Research has shown that 83 per cent of companies that have adopted diversity policies - tackling various forms of discrimination and inequality - believe they make good business sense.

"The North West's economy is currently worth£111bn and more than 2,963,000 people work across a number of industries, including the healthcare sector. Celebr8 is working towards increasing the North West business community's awareness of equality and diversity and the opportunities they present."

The eight strands celebrated in the festival are: race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, age, transgender, faith and beliefs and refugees/emerging communities. Last year's festival was an outstanding success, incorporating more than 30 events and communicating with more than 5.5 million people in the region.

More information on equality and diversity is freely available at www.equalityhumanrights.com and www.celebr8.org