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Now is the time for tangible, proactive solutions to difficult problems

31 March 2021

Commenting on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report, Dr Hodon Abdi, co-chair of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, said:

“We are disappointed in the findings of this report in relation to health. Last month, the Workforce Race Equality Standard report was published and its stark findings demonstrated the difference of experience between ethnic minority staff and their white counterparts.

“The findings of the WRES, while shocking, revealed that NHS health workers from ethnic minority backgrounds find it harder to progress in their career, are less likely to be appointed in roles they are shortlisted for, and were more likely to suffer bullying, harassment and abuse from both patients and from other staff, than their white colleagues.

“The report presented the reality that many of our colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds face. The report was a positive starting point to begin a discussion and it presented an opportunity for health organisations to acknowledge the severity of the problem in the NHS and begin to actively tackle them with tangible solutions.

“Sadly, the CRED report seems to have ignored the findings of the WRES. We, however, are committed to addressing all equality, equity and race issues and will continue to provide proactive solutions to real problems our members and ED staff face.”

Dr David Chung, co-chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, said:

“The NHS staff survey 2020, published earlier this month, found that ethnic minority staff were more likely to be deployed onto covid wards and our own survey found that ethnic minority staff were less likely to be risk assessed, less likely to have access to appropriate PPE, and were less likely to have PPE fitted.

“The CRED report suggests a very different story and fails to recognise what is in plain sight. That, within the NHS systemic and structural racism is prevalent: across recruitment; pay; career progression and opportunity; and the experience of bullying, harassment, or abuse.

“We must be honest about racism and not gloss over the issues. We must take a proactive approach in tackling these issues and we must better support and protect staff from ethnic minority backgrounds and act to make the NHS a more equal and accepting workplace.

“If we fail to acknowledge racism within the NHS, we could fail to recognise any racism towards patients. There is a link between structural racism and health inequalities and we must admit that so we can begin to address it.

“In the College’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, we are fully committed to recognising and addressing all issues around equity, equality and race. Racism and disparities are unacceptable in our College, they are unacceptable in Emergency Medicine, and they are unacceptable in the NHS.”


Notes to Editor

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