Our Strategy in Action: Anti-Racism update | Press releases

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Our Strategy in Action: Anti-Racism update

Last week, we welcomed staff, service users and members of our communities to our Strategy in Action and annual members meeting event in Lewisham.

It was an opportunity to share updates on the progress made to achieve the five ambitions set out in our strategy, Aiming High; Changing Lives. The strategy outlines how we will deliver outstanding mental health care by 2026.

We also took time to celebrate Black History Month and covered the commitments made in our Anti-Racism Action Plan and our vision to lead anti-racism in mental health by 2026. The Action Plan was launched in May 2023 with five initial areas of focus:

  • Workforce
  • Services
  • Research
  • Communication and branding
  • Work with the police.


The Trust, as a mental health service provider, aims to apply anti-racism approaches to remove the conditions that hold systemic racism in place. This strategy event focused on the work that has been done, and remains to do, in relation to our workforce and services.

Anti-racism in our workforce

Currently, 50% of people in our workforce are racially, ethnically and culturally diverse. However, only 37% of our senior roles are occupied by people of these backgrounds. To tackle this discrepancy, we have introduced a Pathways to Progression pilot and a nurse development programme. We now offer ongoing mentoring and coaching workshops and have relaunched our diversity in recruitment role.

To date, 31 out of 50 of our employee relations policies have been updated with an anti-racism lens. Anti-racism objectives have also been added to all staff appraisals.

Anti-racism in our services: Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF)

There has never been a national, systematic way of identifying and changing race inequality within NHS services. National and local data shows us that Black African, Black Caribbean and mixed Black people are more likely to have poorer access, experience and outcomes when they use mental health services. Feedback from our communities also tells us this is the case.

This is unacceptable and it must change.  

In order to achieve race equality in our services, our Trust has taken part in a pilot of the national PCREF programme. PCREF is a partnership between Black Thrive Lambeth, Croydon BME Forum and our Trust.

PCREF sets out six competencies that mental health trusts need to develop to improve access, experience and outcomes for Black, Asian and multi-ethnic communities. These are:

  • Cultural awareness
  • Staff knowledge and awareness
  • Partnership working
  • Co-production
  • Workforce
  • Co-learning.


Through PCREF, we have committed to changing the culture of our leadership and governance, working together across our organisation and with external partners, and using patient and carer feedback to measure if we are improving. In addition, we will look at achieving racial equity in a range of metrics across our services, such as rates of diagnosis, medication, and restraint to measure our anti-racist work. PCREF will be contractually required for all mental health trusts from April 2024.


We are a foundation trust so we have more freedom in how we run our services so we can respond directly to local needs. We are also accountable to our service users, community and staff who make up our membership. We host members meetings to present our annual report and accounts. To find out more about becoming a member or request copies of our reports, please contact membership@slam.nhs.uk.

The next strategy update event will take place on 14 May 2024. If you’d like more information and to keep in touch, please contact strategy@slam.nhs.uk.

A graphic showing a heart made up of flags representing the nationalities of staff at South London and Maudsley


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