At South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust we respect and value the diversity of our staff, patients, carers and visitors and we are committed to meeting the needs and expectations of the diverse communities we serve, providing high quality, safe care.

Our team offers support patients and staff at STSFT by creating an inclusive culture, where everyone feels valued.  Click on the banner below to meet our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team.

Meet our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team

Phillipa Poole, Inclusion Lead

Phillipa.jpegWhat does your role entail? Every day is different in my job as we support staff, patients and our Trust Board to embed inclusion and to make sure we have fair access to services and opportunities. 

When you joined the Trust? July 2019

Why you wanted to work for the NHS? To help make improvements for people who face challenges, discrimination or unfair access.

What you enjoy most about working at our Trust? I love the diversity of the role and how we are making improvements to support staff and patients.

How does your role promote inclusion? Through influencing and engaging people to think about inclusive leadership, respect and fairness. 

Any other info you would like to share? I love traveling and going to places I have never been to before.


Jake Higgin, Inclusion AdvisorJake.jpeg

What does your role entail? My job is to help make our Trust as inclusive as possible and make sure we are welcoming for all our fantastic staff and patients. I work with our three staff networks, deliver inclusion training and offer advice and support to the Trust.

When you joined the Trust? April 2021

Why you wanted to work for the NHS? I've always wanted to work for an organisation that helps and supports people.

What you enjoy most about working at our Trust? I love working with and meeting lots of different people.

How does your role promote inclusion? I listen to the thoughts of our staff and patients to ensure we learn from their experiences. 

Any other info you would like to share? I'm a massive Formula One follower and Lewis Hamilton is my personal hero!


Victoria Atkinson, HR and Inclusion Administrative Officer  Vic.jpeg

What does your role entail? My role is working for the Inclusion team as well as employee relations. My day-to-day job consists of providing admin support to the head of employee relations and the Inclusion lead such as event organising, training and community engagement, staff and patient campaigns and the administration of meetings such as staff network groups.  

When you joined the Trust? I joined the Trust in October 2018 and have worked in a few different teams around the HR directorate since then. 

Why you wanted to work for the NHS? I wanted to work for the NHS as I wanted to work for an organisation that makes a difference to people’s lives. 

What you enjoy most about working at our Trust? I enjoy that I get to work with and meet a diverse range of people and that no day is the same! 

How does your role promote inclusion? My role promotes inclusion by always respecting diversity. I also support on the staff network groups and the collation of pledges for rainbow badges within the Trust. 

Any other info you would like to share? I love to be spontaneous and adventurous!  

Equality Act (2010) - Public Sector Equality Duty

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) replaces previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. The Act’s aim is to simplify the law, remove inconsistencies and make it easier for people to understand and comply with. It aims to strengthen the law to help tackle discrimination and inequality. The majority of the Act came into force on 1 October 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty came into force on 5 April 2011. The Equality Duty ensures that all Public Bodies play their part in making society fairer by tackling discrimination and providing equal opportunities for all.

The Equality Duty makes sure that public bodies consider the needs of all individuals in their day-to-day work. This includes in shaping policy, delivering services and in relation to their own employees. As a public body, the Trust is governed by the Equality Act 2010. The Act contains nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat someone unfairly:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment (whether or not someone is trans)
  • marriage or civil partnership (including same-gender marriage)
  • pregnancy and maternity/paternity
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sex or gender
  • sexual orientation

The Equality Duty asks us to think about how we can accommodate and support people who are disadvantaged or suffer inequality.

To do this, we:

  • Ensure we have the information available to us to understand the needs of our staff, patients, service users, carers and local population.
  • Continue to progress our Equality Objectives and aim to reduce and address inequalities
  • Monitor and evaluate who uses our services, seek patient and staff feedback and measure our outcomes, continually seeking improvement.
  • Learn from what we do – both when we do well and when we can improve

All our inclusion work and activities are monitored by the Trust’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group which meets bi monthly and reports to the Workforce Committee.

Our equality objectives

  • Equality Objective 1 - To improve services for patients who have access and communication needs by ensuring processes are in place to provide information in a variety of formats that meet the needs of patients and/or carer, in particular those with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.
  • Equality Objective 2 - To improve the development offer to staff in relation to equality diversity and inclusion.
  • Equality Objective 3 - Ensure that the Trust Senior Management Team actively leads and promotes Equality Diversity and Inclusion through role modelling of behaviours and empowering all staff to challenge bad behaviours at all levels.
  • Equality Objective 4 - To improve staff engagement and satisfaction rates using the staff survey and other data sources available to us.
  • Equality Objective 5 - Increase diversity across our workforce including at Executive Committee and Board level.

Training and support

Our Inclusion Team promote and provide training to a wide variety of audiences including staff, senior leaders, wards/ teams, community groups and patients. Topics include:

  • Embedding Equality and Inclusion (Inclusive Leadership)
  • Barriers to Equality and Unconscious Bias
  • The Role of Equality Law and Legislation
  • Civility
  • Allyship
  • Recognising and Responding to Prejudice
  • Introduction to Anti-Racist Practice
  • Reasonable Adjustments
  • Inclusive Language

Get in touch if you would like further information at

Contact details

If you have any suggestions on how we could work together, make improvements or offer feedback, please contact us.

You can email the inclusion team on or write to:

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Lead
Human Resources
Sunderland Royal Hospital
Kayll Road

Or call 0191 565 6256


Staff Networks

We have the following staff network at STSFT. If you are interested in joining please contact using the emails below:#

NHS Rainbow Badge Pledges

Our amazing staff across South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS FT have been making inclusion pledges. 

For staff that would like to show their support and wear a badge they can complete a pledge of inclusion.

By choosing to wear this badge, staff are sending a message to staff, visitors and patients that “you can talk to me.”

Staff aren’t expected to solve issues and concerns but will act as a friendly ear and will know how to signpost to support available.

EDI Pledge.jpg

The South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust pledge is as follows: 

I confirm that... 

  • I understand wearing a badge gives a positive message of inclusion and means I have a responsibility to be someone who is a friendly ear for LGBT+ people and families 
  • I understand the purpose of the badge and that I have a responsibility to promote inclusivity, compassion and respect. 
  • I understand what to do if I think a situation requires escalation - support is available from line managers and further information is available on the intranet or via the inclusion team
  • I understand that promoting inclusivity and valuing diversity will help create a culture that is open, honest and continuously improving. 
  • I am an employee of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust 

Staff can complete the form on the intranet which can be found under the inclusion page;

Or download this form and send to or send to:

Inclusion Team, Human Resources
Trust Headquarters
Sunderland Royal Hospital
Kayll Road

Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI), Talent Inclusion and Diversity Evaluation (TIDE) Report

In March 2021 STSFT became members of Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI). ENEI is the leading employer network promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace. Their role is to influence government, business and trade unions, campaigning for real practical change, working in partnership with members sharing best practice.

In August 2021 the Trust submitted the TIDE benchmarking evaluation which measures an organisation’s approach and progress on diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the following areas:

  • Your workforce
  • Strategy and plan
  • Leadership and accountability
  • Recruitment and attraction
  • Training and development
  • Other employment practices
  • Communication and engagement
  • Procurement

The Trust had been awarded the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) - Talent Inclusion and Diversity Evaluation (TIDE) Bronze Award


The Trust submitted the Stonewall Health Equality Index in 2021 for the first time. Our trust scored 16.5/200, which ranked us at 372nd. This was anticipated in our first year and we can use learning and support from Stonewall to take forward our inclusion work plans.

Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES)

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a set of ten specific measures (metrics) which enables NHS organisations to compare the workplace and career experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff. NHS organisations use the metrics data to develop and publish an action plan. Year on year comparison enables NHS organisations to demonstrate progress against the indicators of disability equality. WDES 2023 Report and Action Plan.

Workforce Race Equality Standard

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) requires NHS organisations to demonstrate progress against nine equality indicators. The report aims to show any differences in how white staff, and black and minority ethnic staff, are treated. This is to help the Trust take action where needed to address this. The aim of the WRES is to support the career development of black and minority ethnic staff and ensure the Trust workforce is representative of the communities it works in.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 set out a public authority's gender pay gap reporting duties, which form part of its public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. The regulations require that employers, with 250 or more employees, publish their gender pay gap annually by 31st March.

Equality Delivery System (EDS)

The EDS is the foundation of equality improvement within the NHS. It is an accountable improvement tool for NHS organisations in England - in active conversations with patients, public, staff, staff networks, community groups and trade unions - to review and develop their services, workforces, and leadership. It provides a focus for organisations to assess the physical impact of discrimination, stress, and inequality, providing an opportunity for organisations to support a healthier and happier workforce, which will in turn increase the quality of care provided for patients and service users.

Please find our February 2024 submission which was approved at Board on 25th January 2024.

Equality Delivery System - February 2024

Disability Confident

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, which provides hospital and community services across the region, has been accredited as part of a national campaign to support disabled people into work.

Being awarded the Disability Confident standard demonstrates that South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has a positive attitude towards employing disabled people, and plays a leading role in changing attitudes towards disability.

As part of the scheme, the Trust has to commit to the following principles:

1. Actively looking to attract and recruit disabled people.

2. Providing a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process.

3. Offering an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the job.

4. Flexible when assessing people so disabled job applicants have the best opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job.

5. Proactively offering and making reasonable adjustments as required.

6. Encouraging our suppliers and partner firms to be Disability Confident.

7. Ensuring employees have sufficient disability equality awareness training.

The Trust is committed to supporting disabled staff by:

1. Promoting a culture of being Disability Confident.

2. Supporting employees to manage their disabilities or health conditions.

3. Ensuring there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff.

4. Ensuring managers are aware of how they can support staff that are sick or absent from work.

5. Valuing and listening to feedback from disabled staff.

6. Reviewing this Disability Confident employer self-assessment regularly.