Cynthia ColstonBME Patient Liaison Officer
Cynthia has over 30 years experience working in the NHS as a biomedical scientist. She started at Guys hospital in the early 1970’s and, apart from brief spells working in Switzerland and as a medical sales representative, her entire working career has been spent in the NHS. Cynthia first joined Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in 1986: after publication of the South East Race Equality Review, she was asked to establish and lead the Trust’s BME Network, a role she carried out until she retired from the Trust in March 2011.
From 2000 Cynthia was also the Unite Union Representative and, in this position, she represented many staff on BME issues as well as general work issues.
Since retiring from the NHS, Cynthia has been served on the board of a small mental health charity, and has researched issues relating to equality and diversity for an MSc in Diversity Management, which she completed in 2012. Her hobbies include tennis and walking. Cynthia is married with two grown-up children.
Cynthia was elected to the position of BME Patient Liaison Officer, a role she believes to be important in the context of race equality in the health sector.
The experience gained from serving on the board of a mental health charity means that Cynthia appreciates the hardships faced by those suffering from mental illness and the difficulties encountered by their families.
The system for treatment of mental illness is developing, but BME patients can face greater difficulties in their dealings with health professionals, due to language difficulties, racial prejudice and other issues. These are symptomatic of the problems encountered by BME patients across the health system and the expectations of patients and attitudes of service providers will have to change before inequality in the health sector is overcome.