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Health Equity London Festival: Harvesting Sustainable seeds of change

Our second Collaborative Health Equity event was held over two evenings in September 2021 and included stories from across London and brought together a vision of fairer systems and healthier places. Race and place matter profoundly more so when living and working in areas of deprivation, disadvantage, diversity, and injustice. The devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic has starkly highlighted these inequities and the Marmot Report calls on us to us to build back fairer. Fairness in our communities and primary care teams lies at the heart of what we do in the RCGP NEL Faculty and in our goal to restore and maintain trust.

Practicing in the ‘Deep End’, where doctors and patients are more stressed, where patients consult more and yet feel less enabled, has been associated with feelings of isolation, despair, and exhaustion in primary care teams. A way forward has been the practice of connective networks around shared values, collaborative working, and communication. The NEL and NCL Deep End Health Equity virtual leadership group, which was formed in September 2020, is an example of the facilitative leadership provided by the RCGP NEL Faculty. The Health Equity Hope Festival & Celebration held in February 2021 showcased the shared values and vision of this group in stories of hope. From this arose the September 2021 London Health Equity Festival which focused on harvesting sustainable seeds of change and brought together stories describing change. The aim of our festival was in facilitating conversations: for connectivity; to inspire and empower, for reflection, for collective action and for change towards Marmot informed fairer care with the community as medicine.

Our Health Equity Festival Harvesting change shared inspiring talks from speakers holding leadership roles in primary and secondary healthcare and included stories of collaborative and meaningful work from colleagues in health and social care; the voluntary sector; medical students; patient groups and community organisations.

The first evening was held virtually on 16th September shone with digital warmth through the hosting by RCGP Joint Honorary Secretaries Shani Bhaskaran and Sally Smith from the unique green space that is The Story Garden, cradled between the Francis Crick building and the British Museum, which provided the organic background and platform for the event and for the videos. RCGP NEL Faculty Joint Chair Sabir Zaman opened the evening and local NHS leaders spoke briefly, on fairer environments, resilient systems, strong communities and resourceful people and these talks were interlaced with enriching music, poetry, and audience
interaction. Themes covered: Connecting in the Story Garden; The Positive Peer Empowerment Group; Climate Health and Sustainability; Listening to connect in the digital consultation, the Courtyard Project, making time matter, Social Prescribing, The Listening space and Crafternoons, caring for carers, Breaking free from the chains of expectations, once upon a time in the NHS with Lambeth GP Food co-op and Silence video. Link here to recordings from Day 1 at the Story Garden and Appendix 1 for full program details and links).

The second evening on the 27 September 2021 was both courageous and ambitious in its promise of a blended event. This innovative evening aimed for maximum inclusion through simultaneously delivering a virtual and live event form the Bromley by Bow Centre where refreshments were provided for attendees.

Please feel free to watch the recordings of the event:

Recording of Day 1:

Recording of Day 2 part 1:

Recording of 2 Part 2:

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