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RCP reports progress on improving diversity and inclusion

The Royal College of Physicians has published an update on its progress implementing recommendations from Ben Summerskill’s 2020 report into diversity and inclusion at the RCP.

That report looked at the make-up of the RCP, how diversity is measured and monitored, how the RCP presents itself and how some perceive it, how the organisation recruits and retains staff and volunteers, and at its ways of working.

Ben Summerskill, previously chief executive of Stonewall and a former commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, provided 29 wide-ranging recommendations covering areas such as advertising, recruitment, representation, staff networks and systems and training.

The latest update highlights an emphasis on promoting and showcasing the diversity of the RCP’s membership through its communications and publishing.

The RCP has also worked hard to improve diversity data collection for both the membership and the organisation’s workforce. Last year, for the first time, it published diversity data on Council members, the senior officer and executive team. Next year it intends to collect this data for the RCP’s 40,000 + fellows and members.

Meanwhile, equality and diversity have been a driving force in the RCP’s policy work, particularly with a focus on health inequalities and supporting the widening of participation in medicine as a career, so that the medical workforce better reflects the communities it serves.

The latest update on progress also shows a commitment to reflecting a rich diversity of voices in the RCP’s conferences and events, through both programme content and speakers.

Dr Ian Bullock, RCP chief executive, said: “There is still much to do so we will continue prioritising work on diversity and inclusion and are holding ourselves to account by making it a key focus in the RCP strategy 2022–24. Thank you to everyone who is helping us make this change happen.”

Some of the 29 recommendations in the Summerskill report have been integrated into business planning for individual departments while, for those requiring cross-organisational collaboration, three task and finish groups, focusing on showcasing diversity; data, recruitment and onboarding; and volunteer roles, draw on expertise around the RCP. A Diversity and Inclusion Delivery Group (DIDG), which includes representatives from the RCP membership and Patient Carer Network (PCN), is overseeing the achievement of the recommendations.