Thought Leadership

Hunter Healthcare is proud to be listed on the NHS Employers Ethical Recruiter List for International Recruitment

Hunter Healthcare is proud to be listed on the NHS Employers Ethical Recruiters List for International Recruitment.

The list has been compiled to create a database of recruitment organisations, agencies and collaborations that operate in accordance with the revised Code of Practice. The guiding principles of the code are as follows:

  • If recruitment is managed properly, international migration of health and social care personnel can develop and strengthen the health and social care systems in both the country of origin and destination country.
  • Individuals, organisations and the wider health and care system are afforded opportunities to train, educate and enhance their clinical practice.
  • Recruitment from countries on the red list is prohibited, unless there is an explicit government-to-government agreement in place.
  • International recruitment of health and social care personnel is closely monitored by Cross Whitehall International Recruitment Steering Group and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • With regard to employment and conditions of work, international health and social care personnel will have the same rights and responsibilities as domestically trained staff. This includes access to further education and training, as well as continuous professional development.

To be named on the list organisations must display a commitment to fully adhering to and complying with the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and associated conduct regulations, as well as demonstrating an understanding of the Code of Practice and how it affects the recruitment activity we undertake.

Hunter Healthcare was accepted onto the Ethical Recruiters List in November 2023, and proudly adhere to the terms set out by NHS Employers for inclusion on the list.

Our Learns: The Acute & General Medicine Conference 2023

Hunter Healthcare were proud to attend the Acute and General Medicine Conference this year at London’s ExCeL Centre. The Acute and General Medicine Conference is regarded as the ‘largest annual conference and exhibition involved in emergency, acute and advanced internal medicine’. Isobel Harrop (Medical) and I (Jackson Wilson, Governance, Quality and Nursing) were there, representing Hunter. We had a great time speaking with doctors and nurses from different specialties across the country about their experiences and the issues that are affecting them at the moment.

We were also fortunate to be in sight of Theatre E and so, in between conversations, we managed to catch some of the fascinating lectures that had been going on throughout the conference. Two of the lectures that we found particularly powerful were “Women Empowering Women in Medicine” presented by Dr. Sarb Clare, Deputy Medical Director of Sandwell and West Birmingham, and “Unconscious Bias, Bullying & Behaviour Change” by Scarlett McNally, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at East Sussex.

While they were on separate topics they both spoke of issues that we hear about every day, and (based on the packed crowds they drew) issues that doctors and nurses know all too well. What was particularly impactful was how both lectures highlighted that these are systemic issues, with no one individual to blame, while also emphasising the individual cost of discrimination and what we, as individuals, can do about it. Dr. Clare gave pragmatic advice on how women can support the women they work with, while Ms. McNally asked us to question our own preconceptions and biases, even those we may not be aware we have.

At Hunter, we speak with individuals across the NHS, so we know the difficulties that people often face and it was incredibly moving to see these issues being talked about so openly. We also know how difficult it can be to implement lasting behavioural and cultural change. It takes the right people being in the right place at the right time. We understand this and we are proud of the work we have done to support this. Most recently we sponsored Colourful Healthcare and the Seacole Group’s Hidden Gem awards, celebrating NHS staff from diverse racial backgrounds, and we supported Lancashire Teaching Hospitals with the placement of the NHS’s first ever Filipino Chief Nurse.

In the current climate, now more than ever it is important to remember how much value diversity of thought and background can bring especially within the healthcare sector. Dr. Clare and Ms. McNally’s impactful lectures emphasized the collective responsibility to combat discrimination, providing valuable insights into fostering a more inclusive healthcare environment. As we continue our commitment to supporting positive change, we are reminded of the vital role diversity plays in enhancing the healthcare sector, and we remain dedicated to championing inclusivity and supporting organisations to address the challenges within the sector.

If you or your organisation would like to have a conversation about how we might be able to support you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Making Diversity a Reality at Board Level

Following a recommendation from Yvonne Coghill, The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) came to us with a dilemma: they had a significant amount of diversity within their Nursing workforce in particular, and no Black or Minority Ethnic representation on their Executive Board. The NHS set a target to increase the representation of Black Minority Ethnic staff in senior leadership roles to 20% by 2021.

The population of Morecambe Bay is considerably less ethnically diverse than the population of England. Black and Minority Ethnic groups account for only 5% of the resident population (including white non-British). Nevertheless, recent WRES data shows that at UHMBT, 40% of nurses up to Band 5 and 12% up to band 7, are Black or Minority Ethnic. However, there were only two BME senior nurses who had reached band 8a. Upon speaking with the Head of Inclusion and Engagement at UHMBT, it was also clear that some staff were experiencing racism from their colleagues. Therefore, alongside campaigns such as UHMBT’s Anti Racist Nursing Leadership Programme, it was important to the Trust that their next Executive Chief Nurse (ECN) would not only champion diversity, but tackle racism and commit to their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) programmes.

To increase diversity at Board level, we recognise that the support must be in place for Nursing leaders to take the leap, into territory where they may feel underrepresented. We undertook the following steps to encourage an inclusive recruitment process, which would be attractive not just to current ECN’s, but also experienced deputies:

  • Mentoring: we spoke with Nursing leaders at ICB level to agree a two-year wrap around mentoring programme for the joining ECN, to encourage those with less experience to apply.
  • Intentional and proactive in our efforts: Hunter’s collaborative research with The Seacole Group, ‘The Way Forward’, indicated that only 14% of respondents found out about their role through traditional advertisement. We engaged with Nursing leaders through diversity networks, following recommendations, and those we knew had not been appointed at other recent shortlisting events, which can discourage individuals from applying for similar opportunities.
  • Inclusive language: recruitment materials made specific reference to tackling inequalities in the Trust and the community. This made it clear that UHMBT recognises that having representation of the workforce at the top allows for a wider range of perspectives, more creative and innovative solutions to challenges, improves employee morale and reduces turnover.
  • Feedback: If candidates were not interested in the opportunity, we asked them what would need to be different to encourage them to apply. If we could see a reasonable pathway to accommodate these changes, we challenged UHMBT to do so.
  • Knowledge building: candidates valued the opportunity to speak to their potential future Board colleagues informally, whilst Hunter gave them insight on how their skills and perspective might enable them to add value to UHMBT and the Board.
  • Support and assistance: candidates need to be able to draw on the advice, guidance, and support on the recruitment team during what can be a difficult and unfamiliar process. This included interview preparation and writing advice, particularly if English was a second language or they had not undergone a formal interview process for some time.
  • EDI focused stakeholder session: to ensure the appointed candidate would be an accountable champion for the Nursing workforce, the candidates chaired their own stakeholder sessions, including one with a panel consisting of the Inclusion and Engagement leaders at UHMBT.

Following a competitive shortlisting process, UHMBT has welcomed Tabetha Darmon as their next ECN, who was the Interim Executive Director of Nursing at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Tabetha is part of the NHS BAME Leadership network and has a commitment to being both the patient and clinician ‘voice’. She is a graduate from the Nye Bevan Leadership Programme and has over 15 years of experience in Nursing leadership.

Hunter Healthcare are proud to sponsor the launching of Gifted Ethnic Minority Staff (G.E.M.S) 75@75 Awards

To mark the 75th Anniversary of the NHS, Colourful Healthcare and the Seacole Group are proud to launch 75 @ 75 – a new leaders list recognising 75 health and social care professionals from Black, Asian and other minoritised backgrounds who are making a difference in the sector.

The latest NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report shows that staff from Black, Asian and minoritized groups make up almost a quarter of the workforce overall (24.2%). The analysis shows more than two fifths (42%) of doctors, dentists, and consultants, and almost a third (29.2%) of our nurses, midwives, and health visitors are from Black, Asian and minoritized groups. The statistics are similar in adult social care.1
“Staff from diverse racial backgrounds make significant contribution to the health and care workforce and many recent reports stress the importance of leaders and role models from minoritised communities in raising the aspirations and ambitions of staff who continue to be over looked yet under-represented in the most senior roles in the sector.” Wendy Olayiwola BEM (Founder, National BAME Awards).

Colourful Healthcare – the organisers of the annual National BAME Health and Care Awards, and The Seacole Group – the national network for ethnic minority NEDs and Chairs – are thrilled to support the celebration of the achievements and contributions ethnic minority staff in the health and social care sector.

“We want to recognise the leaders dong great work but are often unseen in the sector.” Says Dal Babu OBE (Chair, Seacole Group)
Sponsored by Hunter Healthcare, this recognition honours individuals in healthcare who, deemed by their peers, the public and the judges, to be the most influential and impactful individuals in the industry in terms of leadership and impact.

More information on the awards and how to nominate an individual can be found here.


NHS boardrooms must do more to harness the power of NEDs from Black, Asian and other Ethnic backgrounds

At last month’s NHS Confederation conference, Jacqueline Davies, NHS England’s Director of Leadership and Lifelong Learning, criticised the lack of diversity among the top ranks of the integrated care boards and called on NHS organisations to do better, saying that while substantial progress had been made on widening the background of ICB Chairs and NEDs, particularly with the appointment of more women and disabled people, when it comes to executive appointments, those figures decrease dramatically. There is indeed more work to do: only 3% of ICB CEOs are from BAE backgrounds. When we look at the provider community, things are not much better. We believe 43 Trusts have no BAE NEDs and only 8% of Trust Chairs are from a BAE background.

Our new report, “The Way forward: The experience of Black, Asian and Other Ethnic NEDs in the NHS,” undertaken in partnership with The Seacole Group, provides some useful insight we hope will help address these failures. Recently covered in The Guardian, it reveals that recruitment strategies that solely depend on passive advertising through job websites are less likely to attract BAE candidates for NED roles. BAE candidates are not likely to be searching for these opportunities as they often don’t realise that their skills and experience are sought by the NHS. NHS bodies should use contacts and networks (or of course executive search) to proactively reach out to potential BAE candidates and guide them through the recruitment process.

The report also highlights the positive impact those BAE NEDs who have managed to make it through to the NHS’s boardrooms are having there. It demonstrates that they are making a real difference up and down the country, drawing on the professional skills they have gained in a range of different settings, as well as their lived experience, to improve the quality of decision making and helping to drive the creation of more inclusive organisational cultures in the NHS.

But despite this, more than 27% of the BAE NEDs we engaged with told us they had seen or faced discrimination in the conduct of their roles. This serves to emphasise the need for urgent action by the leaders of the NHS to address the diversity deficit and make the NHS a more inclusive place to work.

We are grateful to The Seacole Group for working with us and the contributors who gave their energy and time to the research that informed the report. It is important for us as an executive search firm but also has wider implications for the NHS. Here at Hunter Healthcare, we will continue to work hard to “be the difference” that will help improve diversity and tackle inequality in the NHS and beyond.

I could end there, but want instead, to give the last word to one of the BAE NEDs I spoke to as part of the study:

“I would encourage others to consider taking on a NED role in the NHS. It’s a good way to help the health of the population and it’s very rewarding. I hear people say that they don’t understand the language, but NHS boards need people with a lot of different experience. It is worth doing; we all bring different skillsets to our roles.”

HH – The Way Forward – Report

The way forward: The experience of disabled non-executives in the NHS

Hunter Healthcare is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and to the NHS chair and non-executive director community. As part of that commitment, we are working with the Disabled NHS Directors Network (DNDN) on a research project to gain a better understanding of the experience of all
disabled chairs and non-executive directors (NEDs) in the NHS.

The latest statistics tell us that less than 4% of board members self-declare and 58% of boards do not have any disabled members. No-one disputes, therefore, that disabled people are under-represented on NHS boards and it has been this way for some time, despite the 2018 publication of the Holmes review into opening up public appointments to disabled people and the implementation of the Workforce Disability Workforce Equality Standard (WDES) in 2019.

We want to hear first-hand from disabled chairs and NEDs about their experience so we and others can learn from it and make things better for them, their colleagues and the next generations of disabled chairs and NEDs. We have set up an on-line questionnaire, in which disabled chairs and NEDs are invited to share their views and experience confidentially and with as much anonymity as they wish. The questionnaire will take as little as a few minutes to complete.

We would be grateful if you would share this with your chair and NED colleagues and encourage those who consider themselves to be disabled, whether or not you know about their disability, to participate.

Please complete the questionnaire by 31 July 2023. If you experience any difficulty accessing it please contact

To find out more about DNDN please contact

HH – DNDN – Leaflet