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Black and minority ethnic NHS staff more likely to be bullied

2 June 2016

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Black and ethnic minority (BME) staff at three quarters of acute trusts have reported experiencing more harassment from other staff members compared to their white colleagues.

In the first report released by the NHS Equality and Diversity Council, it was found that 75% of all acute trusts show a higher percentage of BME staff being harassed, bullied or abused by staff in comparison to white staff.

The report, NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES), found that a higher proportion of BME staff in 81% of acute trusts experienced discrimination from a manager, team leader or colleague than white staff.

Meanwhile, the report also found that 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.

In 65% of the 20 community provider trusts, the report found that a larger proportion of BME staff experience harassment, bullying or abuse from the public in the last 12 months compared to their White colleagues.

The annual report looked at acute trusts, ambulance trusts, community provider trusts and mental health and learning disability trusts.

NHS England will invest £2 million over two years, from 2015-17 to identify and share best practices between trusts.

The best practice advice will focus of improving recruitment, board membership, disciplinary action and bullying of BME staff.

The investment will also cover training and developing 75 “champions” based in trusts who will help them reduce inequality and improve patient care.

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.”

Stephen Dorrell, chair of the NHS Confederation added: “The objective of inclusive employment practice wins virtually unanimous endorsement across the health and care sector, but today’s report challenges us to recognise that the gap between rhetoric and reality remains uncomfortably large.

“I believe that all NHS organisations should ensure that they are genuinely “equal opportunity employers” and should adopt policies which ensure that all staff members receive the same positive opportunities.”