How Yinka plans to ensure Sheffield Health and Social Care’s services are accessible and fair to all
A recently appointed non-executive director of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust vows to create equal opportunities for all, and insists work will continue “until it doesn’t matter”.
Olayinka Fadahunsi-Oluwole, who is also known as Yinka, is a speciality doctor in community paediatrics and neurodisability at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
She is also chairing the committee on mental health legislation, as part of her new role as the non-executive director, ensuring the experience of service users at Sheffield Health and Social Care is accessible, open, and fair to all.
Yinka said: “Language and culture need to be understood. Not seeing someone like you, people shy away. They can relate to somebody who looks like them.”
She explained that there can be a lack of understanding when it comes to cultural differences, and language “remains a difficulty” despite the accessibility of translators.
Yinka told how some may interpret the willingness to show respect - a large part of her culture - as being subservient, for example.
Similarly, the interpretation of certain words or phrases may not be accurate, as there may not be a word or phrase in a particular language with the same intended meaning.
Yinka added: “Embracing cultural differences needs to be respected and understood.”
She insists that working towards eradicating these barriers will continue “until it doesn't matter”.
Yinka hopes to support the Trust in building a happy and efficient workforce, through getting to know staff, bringing different perspectives together, and appreciating staff for the work they do.
She explained: “I am keen to know all the staff networks. You have to know what's going on to know what’s going on - try to walk in their shoes.
“I want to let everyone know that we are a team. We want to embrace and celebrate cultures and respect everyone.
“Most of the time, people are doing their best. A simple word of thanks goes a long way.”
Despite being “very excited” about her new role, Yinka has likened it to putting “little pieces of a jigsaw” together.
She believes that having discussions is “the only way we can progress”, even though these may be somewhat challenging.
Yinka used the example of bias and how it can be a difficult area of discussion, as people can be unaware that they are exhibiting bias.
She added: “We have to reflect carefully on what we do.”
Yinka has followed in the footsteps of her late father, who was also a paediatrician, describing him as a “hero” who “went the extra mile for children”.
Within her almost 30 years of practice, she has seen the plight of parents, particularly where mental health and emotional wellbeing is concerned.
Yinka decided she wanted to “do a bit more” to support them, and her own children, which led her towards her new role.
Although she will play some part in tackling health inequalities in the city, she is encouraged by those who are already taking action in Sheffield.
Yinka added: “There are lots of groups working with or working alongside all people of the city.”
She says she is "very happy” to live and work in a city that “embraces all”.