ROYAL United Hospitals Bath is starting Black History Month by raising a flag outside the hospital.

The flag, with the pan-African colours of red, yellow and green, represents the NHS foundation trusts’ recognition of the contribution of black people to healthcare and beyond.

It is also a pledge to continue to value diversity in its workforce, the RUH said.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The flag flying at the front of the RUHThe flag flying at the front of the RUH

At the flag raising ceremony the chief executive, Cara Charles-Barks was joined by staff, as inclusion ambassadors Sherron Watson and Alvina Ware raised the flag to music from the local Rainbow Steel Band.

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Ms Charles-Barks said: “Black people have made, and continue to make, an incredible impact on the NHS and that’s something we should recognise and celebrate each and every day.

“I was really proud to be there as we raised our flag as a way of celebrating our diversity, but also to demonstrate our commitment to continue improving opportunities for staff from ethnic minorities.”

Black History Month takes place annually throughout October and is intended to recognise the contribution and achievements of people with African or Caribbean heritage.

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It's also an opportunity for people to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes.

More than 13 per cent of RUH staff are from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background, and that proportion is represented at board level, too.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Rainbow Steel Band, playing outside the RUHRainbow Steel Band, playing outside the RUH

Equality and diversity officer, Gayle Williams said: “We’ve got a lot to be proud of, including our thriving Fusion staff network celebrating diversity from all cultures, and our recent improvements to the percentage of Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff at senior levels.

“But, we’ve got ambitions to be even better, and we are working on initiatives that will support even more staff to further progress in their careers.”

Other activities taking place during October’s Black History Month include staff-curated displays celebrating Black history and culture and the unveiling of a new piece of art in the hospital’s main entrance, which celebrates the contribution of black people to the NHS.

The RUH is also supporting a free regional online conference for both staff and the public, with guest speakers on the line-up including historian and writer David Olusoga, presenter and campaigner June Sarpong, and former professional footballer Anton Ferdinand.