The shame of NHS racism: One in three black and minority ethnic staff faces discrimination or bullying

The shame of NHS racism: One in three black and minority ethnic staff faces discrimination or bullying

AN A third of black and minority ethnic healthcare staff have experienced racism or bullying as the NHS fails to address ‘systemic’ levels of discrimination, The Independent can reveal.

Levels of intimidation and harassment of minority workers have not improved over the past five years, with nearly 30% saying they were targeted in the past year, compared to 20% of white employees.

Although they make up a quarter of the workforce, ethnic minority employees only make up 10% of senior jobs, according to a major NHS report.

said nurse The Independent She was forced to quit her job after a campaign of bullying, while another, who left for the private sector, said her mental health had been severely affected by the discrimination she experienced.

Black Nurses Equality, a membership organization founded by Naomi Bennett in 2020, has launched 200 cases of alleged racism against various NHS trusts since its inception.

“Racism is driving nurses out of the NHS,” Bennett said. the independent, He warned that this problem had reached “epidemic proportions”.

“I see day in and day out the effects of racial bullying and how it affects nurses across the UK,” she said. Bennett. “Bullying of black nurses has reached epidemic proportions and continues.

“However, there is a distinct difference in experiences when comparing the difficulties faced by black nurses with those of white nurses.”

She added that racism within the NHS was “systemic” and “deeply ingrained” and said structures within the organization allowed patterns of behavior to be repeated.

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As the NHS prepares to publish its annual Workforce Race Equity Standard (WRES) report, The Independent It may reveal that research will show that the number of minority staff in the NHS has increased by 100,000 since 2018 – largely driven by an increase in international and overseas recruitment.

Despite this, it struggles to make progress in equity, with only two-fifths of staff reporting that their hospitals provide equal opportunity and only a 10% minority of staff in senior hospital positions.

Figures from an internal NHS survey show that race is the most common type of discrimination reported by all employees, with black female workers experiencing the highest level of discrimination in 2022. However, other causes of discrimination have declined since 2016.

That year, the NHS released its first annual report on racial equality in the workforce, but sources said a survey last year showed little progress on key measures.

In April 2022 the government pledged to ‘close’ the NHS pay gap between different racial groups in response to its Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities.

But the latest data shows white staff are still more likely to be employed than minority colleagues in more than two-thirds of NHS funds.

Meanwhile, Black and minority ethnic employees are more likely to be subject to disciplinary action, as half of all funds have unequal referral rates by race.

The Independent I spoke to nurses across the country, represented by Equality for Black Nurses, who alleged racism against NHS employers and professional regulators.

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The intensive care nurse said she was devastated after being suspended following a bullying campaign.

She described her former employer’s management structure as “exclusively white,” and recounted her experiences with microaggressions and false accusations. She claims her appearance was ridiculed and she faced barriers to advancement in the workplace.

After she raised concerns about discrimination, she said she was bullied and claims other employees warned her to stop talking.

“I felt like my whole world was collapsing, like a big black hole that I couldn’t get out of. As confidence pushed me, I felt like I was constantly drowning. I couldn’t breathe and just wanted it to end,” said the 14-year-old nurse. The Independent.

Another nurse said she was “traumatized” by the bullying and harassment and was “tricked” by her employer.

“This incident will affect me for the rest of my life… when I first joined [the NHS trust] I thought I’d retire there, but… my career [has been cut] Short and unfair,” she said.

An NHS spokesperson said: “While our recent equality report shows we have made progress in some areas of the NHS, it is completely unacceptable for anyone to experience racism, discrimination or bigotry at work and NHS organizations must strive to continuously improve equality. Our diverse workforce – which in turn improves patient care.

“The NHS is working closely with regulators, including the General Medical Council, to reduce disproportionate representation in referrals and with Health Education England to focus on areas such as career progression and greater representation in senior roles, as well as continuing to support local areas of the NHS to implement more improvement measures.

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