The need for stronger discrimination strategies and a real review about recruitment, retention and the development of BAME staff

Daniel Snape
09 February, 2022
Resources 2 62725ae07a57d

Caroline Rennalls, Head of Resilience Management, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust

The need for stronger discrimination strategies and a real review of recruitment, retention and the development of BAME staff


As she was growing up, Caroline Rennalls used to wait outside the hospital where her mum worked as an auxiliary nurse: “I always liked the fact that she finished her day and felt like she’d made a difference. For her, it was direct patient care, the washing, the dressing, the feeding. I said during my first job interview, I want to make a difference.”

An adopted child of Jamaican parents who emigrated to the UK, Caroline also longed to work as part of a team. “That was quite important because I’m an only child, I come from a small family,” she explains. “Both these things are what drew me to the NHS initially.”

Following in her mum’s footsteps, Caroline trained as a nurse and later secured an MBA which laid the foundations for her becoming Head of Resilience Management and Operations.

She acknowledges missing direct contact with patients but sees her current role as a way to make a bigger difference: “I missed the fact that patients didn't know my name. But I quickly understood that my actions can affect more people in a different way. If I can change systems or improve processes, I'm actually affecting more people.”


"People need to understand that it isn’t up to people of colour to sort out racism in the NHS"

The difference Caroline wants to make, however, goes beyond improving patient pathways in the hospital. Ironically, it hinges on the recognition that she herself shouldn’t be responsible for making this difference: “People need to understand that it isn’t up to people of colour to sort out racism in the NHS, which I think seems to have been the approach historically.”

At the age of fifty-five, she does want to make a difference for the sake of her own daughters, who are also contemplating careers in the NHS, training to be a therapist and neuropsychologists respectively. She says: “I'd like to see that, in their careers, my daughters are credited for their skill and ability, and I'd like to see the NHS acknowledge that it needs to make changes and implement stronger strategies for discrimination.”

Caroline identifies with the case of Mary Seacole (1805-1881), a British-Jamaican healer and female doctor who nursed wounded soldiers on the battlefield in the Crimean War. Although Mary Seacole was arguably the first nurse practitioner in the UK, most people have never heard of her. Instead, it is Florence Nightingale who is credited solely with being the pioneer of modern nursing.


"[It] feels like I am being gaslighted at times"

Accrediting people with the ideas they have is another change that Caroline wants to see. She talks of her personal experience: “I will come up with an idea and then have it presented to me as someone else’s idea, which feels like I am being gaslighted at times.

‘’I tend to get called an angry black woman. Not by everybody. And I have to correct them and say, ‘my assertiveness is not anger; you expect me to be passive. I am capable and competent, and that's difficult for you.’ It's about perception and as I've got older, I've been more vocal about it. I don't accept it.”

Caroline highlights the need for “a real review about recruitment, retention and the development of BAME staff.” She adds: “I'd also like to see that all recruiting managers acknowledge their intrinsic biases, and understand how they need to change their structures and their policies.


"There is a big conversation happening in the NHS at the moment about what to do and how to improve it"

“There is a big conversation happening in the NHS at the moment about what to do and how to improve it. But the outcome of that big conversation has not yet been published. That's a work in progress.”


#diversityandinclusion #inclusionmatters #blacklivesmatter #womeninthenhs #empoweringwomen #genevieveshaw


Genevieve Shaw, Editor

Recommended Reading

abpco 2021
Manchester Bee
Stockport Food bank
CPD Member
Living Wage Member
Good Employment - Sponsor
Good Employment - Member
Convenzis Healthcare Event testimonials

What our clients say about us

Working with Convenzis is a stress-free and a rewarding experience, with fantastic engagement from a highly targeted and relevant audience


I worked with Convenzis, primarily Dan, for the first time this year, putting together a bespoke online event for IBM. He has always been so responsive and accommodating. The team always remained professional and helpful – despite the many demands from our side! They were very keen for us to maximise on the investment and revisit those attendees who had not committed to follow ups.
It was an absolute pleasure doing business with Convenzis and I know there will be more opportunities next year. Looking forward to it!


In view of the recent NHS Oncology Conference organised by CONVENZIS which was sponsored by Pascoe Healthcare Ltd, CONVENZIS exhibited professionalism through credible organisation, invitation of delegates/respectable Speakers and general conduct of the entire conference. This has also shown that CONVENZIS is a great partner in business which is fundamental to ROI of partnering Companies even in the wake of the pandemic.

Pascoe Healthcare

“We’ve worked with the Convenzis team for several years and their events are a regular occurrence for us. Not only is the content always extremely topical, but the speakers are always excellent and the support from the team ahead of and during the events is exceptional. The team are incredibly receptive to feedback and always goes above and beyond – a real pleasure to work with!”


“It has been a pleasure to work with Matt and Dan for the past few events. Everything has always run smoothly and we’ve always managed to gather a large number of interested parties due to the events they have hosted.

They are also very helpful and timely in their responses, which has made working with them very easy “


Our previous experience and supporting stats


In-person Conferences Held


Virtual Conferences Held


Delegates in attendance on the day


Management level and above delegates


Sponsorship Packages Taken


Number of Sponsors we have Worked with

Get Social

Stay in the loop, add our socials, and never miss an event!