• Carol Read

Network Leadership - What works?


DECEMBER 2021 - Spotlight on the latest thinking for network leaders


A monthly blog I write for the London South Bank University focused on resources for improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in networks.


The monthly blog for December explores a range of resources for improving Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in your network. There is still work to be done to improve issues throughout healthcare highlighted in the last two years and to illustrate I have included a mix of content pre and post-pandemic. Also, the London South Bank University is developing further resources which will be included as they become available and discussed on the new network leadership programme.

In 2017 NHSE published their inclusion report which includes findings from the research study for good practice, setting up a network, and case studies drawn from the UK. it will be interesting to see how much has changed since the pandemic. If you are aware of good EDI practice in a range of different settings and networks do contact the Source4Networks team and we will include these on our resources page.


One network which has developed over the last few years is the Shuri Network. This is the first NHS and Care network of women from minority ethnic backgrounds in Digital Health. They are a unique team that has had a big impact on celebrating difference and diversity in digital health, challenging the system to take action, and supporting women from ethnic minorities to succeed in their careers. They are named after Shuri, the Black Panther character who is responsible for her country’s technological success and champion safety, innovation, and diversity, and are supported by Health Education England, NHSX and NHS Digital. Dr Chok, a co-founder of the network and a GP at Tower Hamlets makes an interesting point,

'it’s no longer about asking how to improve diversity and inclusion, but rather asking why has the NHS taken so long to get this right. You cannot outsource diversity and inclusion to HR, or your BAME networks, or your LGBQT networks. This is something we must all own, collectively, if we truly serious about improving patient care and delivering our digital health objectives and aims.”

The above quote is useful to take forward with your own networks when discussing the EDI principles alongside resources such as -


Marmot, M. Allen, J. Boyce, J. Goldblatt, P. and Morrison, J. (2021) Building Back Fairer in Greater Manchester: Health Equity and Dignified Lives.Back Fairer in Greater Manchester: Health Equity and Dignified Lives. London. Institute of Health Equity.

Cross, R. Oakes, K. and Cross, C. 2021. Cultivating an Inclusive Culture through personal networks. MIT/Sloan Management. USA.

W.H.O. 2021. COVID-19, the Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity - WHO Evidence Brief. London. W.H.O.

Bozag, C.2020. Managing diverse online networks in the context of polarization: Understanding how we grow apart on and through social media. London. Sage Journals.

Wharton University. 2021. Evidence-based Equality, Diversity and inclusion Practices. USA. Wharton University.

McKinsey and Co. 2021. Diversity Matters. London. McKinsey Quarterly.

Gazard et al. 2018. Barrier or stressor? The role of discrimination experiences in health service use. London. BMC Springer Public Health.


Finally, this blog started with the NHSE Inclusion report published in 2017 pre-pandemic and explored how many challenges in the workplace around EDI have been exposed by issues related to Covid. Moving forward there have been new documents published which seek to capture EDI objectives that will make a difference for the next five years, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Hopefully, this will be a useful reference document for network teams to work with and make their own EDI objectives for the future.