Empowering Voices: The Importance of Equity and Inclusion
by Toni Bewley

We’re delighted to introduce Dr Toni Bewley, an experienced adult and children’s nurse with over 20 years of clinical expertise and extensive research and teaching experience, both nationally and internationally. She is currently a Senior Teaching and Learning Fellowship Lead at Edge Hill University and a Consultant at Cavalry Healthcare.

It’s evident from her outstanding career that Toni is genuinely committed to integrating the perspectives and experiences of patients (service users) and carers into every facet of health and social care. In this post, she contemplates the importance of equality, diversity, and inclusion, as well as the obstacles encountered by marginalised communities, and proposes methods to cultivate a more inclusive society.


Equality, diversity, and inclusion are crucial in today’s world. As Toni rightly points out, historically it has been important to uplift marginalised groups, including women. Even in the UK, there are still marginalised communities where women do not have a voice. Every individual, regardless of background, gender, or ability, should have the opportunity to be heard and to fulfil their potential. Toni’s dedication to healthcare and education has shown her the transformative power of empowering people in their own situations. This highlights the importance of creating a more inclusive and equal society for all.

The Power of Co-Production

Toni’s message underscores the ongoing challenges faced by marginalised communities, particularly women, in having their voices heard. It emphasises the importance of recognising and supporting ordinary individuals who are working hard to bring about positive change.

Additionally, Toni stresses the need for genuine co-production, where the input of service users and carers is integrated into decision-making processes, to ensure their perspectives are fully considered and addressed. This aligns with the broader goal of challenging existing norms and fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.

Toni commented, “My proudest achievement is actually working with service users and carers to enable them to get their voice heard, and I will continue doing that forevermore.”

Overcoming Challenges

The journey towards equity is not without its challenges. Toni herself has faced discouragement and deflating moments and shares her own personal experience, “I have also had to fight my way. The biggest hurdle in my career was when somebody, a very senior person, said to me, ‘You will never be a teacher.'”

However, she emphasises the importance of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. By refusing to be silenced and continuing to fight for what she believes in, Toni has become a powerful advocate for marginalised communities. As we navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, she also highlights the challenges faced by the younger workforce, often labelled as the “COVID generation.” Toni stresses the importance of not letting this label define or limit their potential. Instead, we must empower young people, particularly women, to reinvent themselves, demonstrate their worth, and adapt to the changing landscape of work. 

By fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability, we can help the next generation thrive in the face of technological advancements, such as AI, and shifting job roles.

The Importance of Open Dialogue

Toni emphasises the need for a fundamental shift in our education system to encourage more women to step up as leaders and have their voices heard. She believes that equity and inclusion must be integrated into the fabric of our schools and universities. This involves having open, honest conversations about what inclusion truly means and moving beyond mere political correctness. By fostering a deep understanding of equity from an early age, individuals can be empowered to develop their own identities and become drivers of change.

Her weekly online drop-in sessions at the university are a powerful example of the impact of open dialogue in breaking down barriers. These sessions bring together service users, carers, and academics, without a set agenda, creating a safe space for individuals from diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and perspectives. Through these conversations, there is an opportunity to gain experience from one another, challenge assumptions, and work towards a more inclusive society. The power of open dialogue in fostering understanding and appreciation of our differences is evident in these sessions, highlighting the importance of creating such spaces in our communities.


Equity and inclusion are not merely buzzwords or tick-box exercises. They are fundamental principles that should guide our actions and interactions with one another. As Toni reminds us, “We must focus on the individual, not the label or the stereotype.” By empowering every voice, regardless of gender, ability, or background, we can unlock the full potential of our society. It is through open dialogue, co-production, and a commitment to lifelong learning that we can create a world where everyone can thrive. Let us embrace our differences, listen to one another, and work together to build a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

A healthcare agency that works for you.

Work/life balance

We offer a reward and recognition scheme for quality care

Bonus scheme

We do what we say we will do, and always act with integrity.


We respect the wishes and aspirations of every individual.

Money off bills

We offer further training and career development opportunities

High pay rates

We are always understanding, kind and compassionate.

24/7 support

You can speak to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.