Delegates booking tickets for this year’s Breaking Through conference, the NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement’s showcase of its leadership development programme for BME NHS staff, are being invited to submit questions for a special diversity debate at the event.

This year’s conference, which takes place on Monday October 15 at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London, will see 6 Chief Executives of Strategic Health Authorities from around the country take part in a panel debate on the key issues surrounding diversity in the NHS based entirely on questions submitted by the audience.

Delegates interested in participating in the debate, which will be chaired by Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the NHS Institute and comprise Candy Morris (South East Coast SHA), Sir Ian Carruthers (South West SHA), Mike Farrar (North West SHA), Neil McKay (East of England SHA), Paul Corrigan (London SHA) and Cynthia Bowers (West Midlands SHA), are being invited to visit and submit their authored or anonymous question online. A selection will then be published on presentation screens at the event for discussion by the panel.

Yvonne Coghill, national programme lead for the Breaking Through Programme said: “This special panel debate will give delegates a unique opportunity to question the most senior policy makers from SHA’s around the country on a variety of diversity issues.

With such a strong panel of speakers, this year’s event promises to be particularly thought provoking and as such, should act as the first point of reference for any aspiring black or minority ethnic senior manager looking to progress their career to the next level.”

The annual Breaking Through conference comprises a series of interactive debates and informal breakout sessions and sees hundreds of BME delegates from a variety of middle and senior managerial levels in the NHS come together to celebrate the successes of the programme to date and hear about its aims and objectives for the future.

The 2007 event features a particularly strong panel of speakers, including NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson, Lord Hunt, Minister of State for Quality, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund, Bernard Crump, Chief Executive of the NHS Institute, Nigel Crisp, Consultant at the Gates Foundation and Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the NHS Institute.

Tickets for the conference are priced from £75 and can be booked at


Notes to editors:

1.       Launched in October 2003, the Breaking Through programme offers high quality leadership and personal development programmes for aspiring directors and senior leaders from the black and minority ethnic NHS community. Participants attend four modules over the course of a year structured around learning building blocks. These offer the opportunity to develop personal development plans based on clear and objective diagnostic tools and provide development activities which support career planning and progression, develop leadership skills and capabilities and provide the space to engage with the issues facing BME staff in the NHS. To date, the programme has helped more than 425 individuals achieve their career aspirations and goals, enabling the NHS get closer to achieving a senior leadership workforce which is truly diverse.

2.       The NHS Institute was established in 2005.  It aims to support the NHS with high-impact solutions to some of its biggest challenges, as well as innovative ideas, new practices and technologies that will really make a difference to the delivery of patient care. It also aims to promote a culture of life long learning for all NHS staff by working with NHS organisations and communities to develop effective learning systems to accelerate organisational and individual growth and change.

3.       Further information on the work of the NHS Institute is available at

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