Bullying more common among NHS black and minority ethnic staff

  • Date: 23 June 2016

BLACK and minority ethnic (BME) NHS staff in England are more likely to be bullied than their white colleagues, new research has shown.

Higher percentages of BME staff said they experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from staff, regardless of the type of Trust or geographical region in which they worked.

They were also more likely to face discrimination from management than white staff, and less likely to agree that their trust provides equal opportunities for career progression or promotion.

The findings were revealed in the first report on the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) from the NHS Equality and Diversity Council.

The WRES was introduced in 2015 in response to "strong evidence" that less favourable treatment of NHS BME staff adversely impacted the quality of patient care. The new standard aims to prompt discussions about the reasons why BME staff often receive poorer treatment and to identify ways of tackling the problem.

All NHS Trusts were required to submit baseline data against the nine WRES indicators by July 1, 2015. The new report offers analysis of workforce information which was provided by 82 per cent (196) of all trusts, covering acute, ambulance, community provider, and mental health and learning disability.

Of the 153 acute trusts who submitted data, 75 per cent showed a higher percentage of BME staff bullying from staff compared to their white colleagues. In the trust with the greatest disparity, 42 per cent of BME staff said they had been bullied compared to 18 per cent of white employees.

Other findings reveal that in 86 per cent of acute trusts, a higher percentage of BME staff do not believe their organisation offers equal opportunities for career progression or promotion compared to white staff. Similarly, 81 per cent of trusts reported a higher proportion of BME staff facing discrimination from a manager, team leader or colleague. In one trust 57 per cent of BME but only 12 per cent of white staff experienced this discrimination.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the report provides "unvarnished feedback" to every hospital trust across the country.

"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," he said. "As this is the first year of the WRES, it provides a transparent baseline from which each employer will now be seeking to improve."

Commenting in the report, chief executive of Barts Health NHS Trust Alwen Williams praised the new standard. She said: "It is a simple framework which organisations can use to analyse their own performance and priorities with regard to workforce race equality. By focussing efforts and making changes to workplace practices, organisations can improve both cost effectiveness and quality of care for all patients."

Read the full report here

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