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NHS to tackle workforce race inequality

1 August 2014

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Measures to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and fair treatment in the workplace have been released. 

Recent reports have highlighted disparities between the number of BME people in senior leadership positions in the NHS and lower levels of wellbeing in the BME population. 

The NHS Equality and Diversity Council (NHS EDC) has called for a workforce race equality standard that would require organisations employing almost all of the 1.4 million NHS workforce to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to address the low levels of BME Board representation.

And the NHS will be consulted on whether the Equality Delivery System (EDS2) should also become mandatory. This is a toolkit, currently voluntarily used across the NHS, which aims to help organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities and provide better working environments for all groups.

The proposals would be applicable to providers, and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) through the annual CCG assurance processes. 

NHS England chief executive and chair of NHS EDC said: “We want an NHS ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’. That’s because care is far more likely to meet the needs of all the patients we’re here to serve when NHS leadership is drawn from diverse communities across the country, and when all our frontline staff are themselves free from discrimination.”