Back in 2014 the NHS announced that it had agreed actions to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds would have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.
As a result of their work NHS organisations are now required to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality laid out in the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).
The first WRES report comparing the results of the experiences of black and ethnic minority (BME) and white staff in every NHS trust in the country has now been published.
The report looked at four indicators across acute trusts, ambulance trusts, community provider trusts, and mental health and learning disability trusts. The results show a picture of variation across the health service with some trusts making progress, whilst others still have a considerable way to go.
· 75% of all acute trusts show a higher percentage of BME staff being harassed, bullied or abused by staff in comparison to White staff. 22% of acute trust returns (33 organisations) show a lower percentage of BME staff report being harassed, bullied or abused by staff. Five organisations report the same response rate, indicating no gap between BME and White experience.
· Whereas a much higher proportion of BME staff report harassment, bullying or abuse by staff in the last 12 months compared to White staff, the levels of harassment, bullying, or abuse from patients relatives or the public are similar for White and BME staff.
· In 86% of acute trusts, a higher percentage of BME staff do not believe that their organisation offers equal opportunities for career progression or promotion in comparison with White staff.
· Most acute trusts (81%) report a higher proportion of BME staff having personally experienced discrimination from a manager, team leader or colleague than White staff.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, and co-chair of the NHS Equality and Diversity Council said: “This report provides unvarnished feedback to every hospital and trust across the NHS about the experiences of their BME staff. It confirms that while some employers have got it right, for many others these staff survey results are both deeply concerning and a clear call to action. As this is the first year of the WRES, it provides a transparent baseline from which each employer will now be seeking to improve.”
Progress against the WRES is now considered as part of the 'well led' key question for CQC’s inspections of NHS and independent provider hospitals. Service providers must publish an annual WRES report on their website each July. These reports and the accompanying action plans will be analysed, with Trusts being asked how they are addressing any issues identified. BME and white staff will also be interviewed by the CQC about their experiences of working in their organisations.
The next CQC WRES report will be published by the end of July.