The Allied Health Professions (AHPs) are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), hence the terms of engagement in spaces managed by #BMEstreetAHPs have been aligned to HCPC Standards. #BMEstreetAHPs spaces may be open to people who are outside of HCPC jurisdiction, hence we have made effort to provide signposting to resources which are publicly available. Resources by HCPC which would be particularly relevant to engagement in this space would be those addressing person-centredness, raising concerns, openness, and honesty, as well as communication and social media.
As indicated by our tagline: By BME AHPs for BME Communities – persons belonging to Black and Minoritized Ethnic (BME) communities are at the front and centre of all #BMEstreetAHPs spaces. Our foremost priority is to promote and protect the interests of BME communities, and we agree with the HCPC that the “safety and wellbeing of service users always comes before professional or other loyalties“. This principle is applicable to all virtual spaces established to facilitate activities under the #BMEstreetAHPs banner (e.g., Community Loop, video conferencing spaces).
As stated in our Who We Are page: we aspire to apply an intersectional approach (as conceptualised by Black feminist theorists) to anti-oppression which also takes into account the effects of race and ethnicity on (but not restricted to) other aspects of identity such as nationality, migration experiences and histories, disability, neurodiversity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, language, age, as well as culture. While persons of BME backgrounds may share experiences of discrimination and exclusion in the UK context, we are not a monolith and as such – all of us, including people of BME backgrounds ourselves, should be mindful of our relative positions in relation to those we are interacting with and to be vigilant of contextual factors influencing those interactions.
The #BMEstreetAHPs team reserve the right to suspend, disable, block, and remove accounts belonging to people who have behaved in ways which pose risks to persons from BME backgrounds, which would compromise the integrity of our spaces. Our criteria for risk is based on impact rather than intention.
Raising Concerns, Openness and Honesty
We recognise that missteps are an inevitable part of human interactions – and agree with HCPC’s position that AHPs have a Duty of Candour to fulfill. To paraphrase from HCPC’s guidance video (30:50-33:40): being open and honest about mistakes can play a key part in maintaining the trust of the public – which is particularly important when interacting with people from communities which have developed institutional mistrust resulting from historic and systemic oppression (i.e., BME people in the UK context). Medical mistrust has been identified as a determinant of health inequities affecting such populations, hence we as AHPs also have a duty of care to our service users not to contribute towards this.
White guilt can be a common reaction to missteps, and sometimes people might feel compelled to respond with white tears or attempt to provide (excessive) justification. Should you encounter such feelings at any point in #BMEstreetAHPs spaces, it would be useful to refer to HCPC’s guidance (16:35-23:00) to reflect on what purpose the justification serves. Useful questions to to consider under such circumstances include –
- Will my justification benefit the person I have harmed in any way?
- Will it help to repair the relationship?
- Is it actually focused on myself? Am I doing this to self-soothe or to absolve myself of discomfort?
We hope that participants in #BMEstreetAHPs activities will refer to the HCPC guidance in the event that any contentious interactions should arise and take the necessary actions to prevent further escalation.
Communication and Social Media
HCPC provides extensive guidance on the use of social media for communication, including segments 43:25-51:30 of this webinar recording.
Particularly noteworthy reminders include: “You must use all forms of communication appropriately and responsibly, including social media and networking sites.” and “You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.”
Just as HCPC encourages people to “Keep posting!” We also encourage you to participate as actively as possible in our Community Loop as you are able to. Generally we think that so long as we all remember to act in the best interests of the persons who should be centred in #BMEstreetAHPs spaces, and maintain openness and honesty around raising and addressing concerns – meeting HCPC standards relevant to Communication and Social Media should not be an issue.
We hope you will enjoy being a part of our journey and look forward to engaging further with you!
We would strongly recommend for white people sharing spaces with people from BME backgrounds to develop self-awareness of your own positions relative to others through engaging with books like Me and White Supremacy (Layla Saad) and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Reni Eddo-Lodge). For those from professions dominated by white women, you might benefit from engaging with this reading list on white womanhood – or if you don’t have much time, this blog post which discusses the risks white femininity can pose to racially minoritized people (supplemented by these peer-reviewed journal articles discussing the same topic: 1, 2, 3).