13 March 2024

Sustainability goals: Reduced inequalities


Jamie Tulley

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals adopted by all United Nations Member States. They are designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.

Every few weeks we will share Here’s progress on one of these goals. In February we were focused on Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities.

What else have we done to reduce inequalities? 

Whilst we are an equal opportunities employer, there are many things that we do to ensure that we carry this forward in how we work.

Reducing inequalities for our employees:

  • We are committed to being a Real Living Wage employer, implementing the last two annual increases within 4 weeks of being announced. In FY2022-23, this increased the pay immediately of 12 employees, and in FY2023-24 it impacted 23 employees.
  • We have embedded into policy an annual inflationary pay uplift for all employees.
  • We are piloting the concept of pay and terms transparency at board level and for two further teams.
  • We report annually on our gender pay gap statistics as can be seen on our website here. Our Emerging Leaders Learning Circle discussed what we learnt from this report.
  • Seven of our nine board members are female, against a trend in the UK of only 40% of board members being female.
  • We offer flexible working arrangements to allow us to employ people with varied life commitments. At the end of 2023, 51% of our employees worked part-time, including casual contractors.
  • Our Employee Assistance Programme offers a free 24/7 service to allow all employees to access anonymous guidance on a range of issues including financial management, counselling and legal issues.
  • This year we started offering free period products in our toilets.
  • Our Equality and Diversity mandatory training session for all employees has 91% compliance currently.

Reducing inequalities for our patients:

  • We have been hosting MSK Community Appointment Days (CAD) in community hubs to make our MSK services more accessible to communities.
  • First Contact Physiotherapists based in GP surgeries, bringing them closer to patients for their convenience.
  • Ensuring that access to our pathways is available in both digital and non-digital methods so that the service is available to all.
  • We highlight any safeguarding risks in the delivery of services.
  • Ensuring access to healthcare via non-digital pathways as well as digital.
  • Pioneering production of health equity data with respect to access to and outcomes within our services.
  • Diversifying access into MSK services ensuring inclusion across the board, for example, via self-referral electronic and soon to be launched telephone referral. We have also introduced self-booking for patients.
  • Our MSK service offers the translation of outcome letters for patients.
  • Utilising translation and interpreter services wherever needed in our services to ensure that patients access and receive the most from our services.
  • Additional Primary Care offer phone of face-to-face appointments for equity of access.

Our physios treating patients at a Community Appointment Day (CAD)

Reducing inequality for our wider community:

  • In January we radically changed our recruitment process to reach candidates from all backgrounds and to ensure a fair and unbiased selection process using the recruitment platform Teamtailor.
  • MSK Big Conversation public events to connect with and better serve population especially in the most deprived areas. These events help us to co-produce events and our services through ongoing discussion and feedback with our communities.
  • We work with Brighton Women’s Centre via our MSK contract.
  • Offering vegan lunches at Big Conversations and other external events.
  • Menopause education to businesses via our Menopause at Work service.
  • We offer women-only physio gym classes under our MSK services following patient feedback.
  • We run Stroke Peer Support Groups (PSGs) to help and support stroke survivors, carers & family cope with life after stroke. The PSGs are useful to survivors’ recovery and give hope, hearing others talk, sharing and learning from other’s experiences through social interaction in easily accessible community and hospital settings.
  • Conscious work stream to underscore our commitment to identify and eradicate Modern Slavery including training for clinicians to help identify potential victims (more likely to be women). Compliance is at 97% completion.
  • Here took part in Brighton Pride in 2023 and plan to continue to do so every year, our banners highlighted the disparity in health care equity in the LGBTQ+ community.
  • We hold health population data analysis for the MSK East service and several local GP surgeries.


What do we plan to do? 

  • We are exploring a women’s health policy covering how we can help women manage their health at work.
  • Our landlord is exploring with us whether we can install a gender-neutral toilet,we invited employees to join the working group.
  • As well as reporting on the gender pay gap, we are exploring whether we have sufficient data to report on ethnicity pay gap reporting and explore whether there are inequalities that we need to address.

Suppliers we support who are doing good:

  • Infinity Foods Wholesale is a local company that we purchase many of our refreshments from, as well as being a local co-operative, they have been supporting two projects that help redistribute unsaleable foods.
  • Local foodbank Phoenix Food Hub and Whitehawk Community Food Project. More info here.

Two local charities to highlight to everyone that are doing great things in this area are:

Brighton & Hove Albion Foundation: mentoring young people, diversionary activity, tackling discrimination, disability awareness. Link here.

Brighton Women’s Centre: To empower women and children to improve their life chances and lead independent lives by reducing inequalities through the provision of holistic and integrated services. Link here.

What can else can we all do to help reduce inequalities?

Raise your voice against any type of discrimination. Everyone is equal regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, social background and physical abilities.

Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard, particular as an election is likely this year. One of the issues contributing to rising inequalities is caused by the lack of representation of minorities and underprivileged groups in government. It is important to raise diverse engagement and representation in institutions of power.

Gather or donate the appliances, food, clothes needed for a local charity who supports migrants, shelters and other minority community groups.

Try to be aware of ethical purchasing including Fair Trade products. Sometimes these can more expensive, but not always so it’s worth exploring the options.

The Sustainability Team

Sustainability team

Also of interest

Long term conditions NHS eLearning programme features CAD

Long term conditions NHS eLearning programme features CAD

PRosPer – Long Term Conditions eLearning course has just launched, featuring a case study highlighting the impact of Community Appointment Days.   Sophie Wickins, Clinical Project Manager at NHS South, Central and West (SCW) approached Georgi Daluiso-King, from...

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