The Afiya Trust bids farewell to Patrick Vernon


The Afiya Trust, a national charity that works to reduce inequalities in health and social care provision for people from BME communities bids farewell to its Chief Executive Patrick Vernon.

Vernon is leaving the charity after nearly four years of leading the trust’s work. During his time with The Afiya Trust, he brought his extensive knowledge of the agenda to a wider audience, travelling across the country highlighting the health disparities which BME communities experience.

Examples of these disparities include the fact that African-Caribbean men, Asian women and refugee communities are at least three times more likely than the national average to be admitted to psychiatric hospital. Furthermore, these communities have longer rates of detention, and are more likely to access restricted mental health services through the criminal justice system or social services instead of being referred by a GP.

Some of the highlights of his time as CEO are the celebrated Afiya Awards in 2011, which honoured the work of BME champions in health and social care, and the Living in the Margins’ report, which was launched at the House of Commons to highlight the impact of public sector cuts on BME communities.

Vernon said:

I am very proud of the achievements and the impact that I have made during my time with Afiya, especially in the last few years campaigning against austerity measures in health and social care and in particular the policy work looking at the marginalisation of race equality.

The Afiya Trust believe that the unprecedented cut in public funding of the voluntary sector brought about by the severe austerity measures, have resulted in BME communities experiencing one of the largest increases in health inequalities and largest reductions in social mobility since the 1940s.

To round off these successes it was announced that Vernon will be honoured with an OBE in October 2012 for his commitment to working to combat health inequalities in BME communities.

Vernon has said that when he leaves the Afiya Trust, he will be:

taking a break to spend time with my family before gearing up to explore a range of new and exciting opportunities.

As Vernon takes a well earned break, OBV wish him good luck on his future endeavours and are confident that he will apply his much needed expertise and dedication to tackle more inequality with the same high level of success.

Francine Fernandes