1 March 2021
Data from the NHS England workforce race equality standard shows the number of staff in the NHS workforce from ethnic minority backgrounds has risen to 21%, up from 18% in 2017.
The number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic board members in trusts increased by more than 22% over the past year and very senior manager level representation has increased by 42% since 2017. And the number of board members from an ethnic minority background in NHS trusts has also risen to 10%, from 7% in 2017.
However, the findings reveal staff from ethnic minority backgrounds face more challenges in their working life and throughout their careers than their white counterparts. The report found that white applicants were 1.61 times more likely to be appointed from shortlisting compared to staff from an ethnic minority background.
And over 30% of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds reported experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public, compared to 28% of their white counterparts. While more than 28% of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds reported experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from staff compared to 23.6% of white staff.
Dr David Chung, co-chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, said:
“The report shows some clear and positive changes, particularly around senior leadership which is most welcome.
“But the report also details some worrying facts. A higher proportion of staff from an ethnic minority background suffer harassment, bullying and abuse from the public than their white counterparts. What is more shocking is that this gap grows when looking at harassment, bullying and abuse from other NHS staff.
“It is also appalling that white candidates are more than 1.5 times more likely to be appointed from shortlisting than their colleagues from an ethnic minority background.
“Within the NHS and within Emergency Medicine more action must be taken to overcome systemic inequalities and unconscious biases.”
Dr Hodon Abdi, co-chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, said:
“The pandemic has widely exposed health inequalities in the NHS and in society as the virus disproportionately affected ethnic minority communities.
“While displaying some signs of progress, this report shows the struggle that staff from ethnic minority backgrounds face within the NHS.
“More must be done with trust leaders and staff in the NHS to unravel these systemic inequalities. We must ensure all staff are given equal opportunities for career advancement and professional growth.”