Progress to address race inequality continues to be slow and patchy. The latest indicators of performance by NHS trusts against the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) shows that BAME workers continue to experience worse outcomes than their white colleagues in relation to career progression, disciplinary action, and other measures.
Despite there being slight national improvements year-on-year, across most of the nine indicators measured, the evidence tells us that significant work needs to be done across all NHS Trusts in the North West although there are some indicators where trusts are performing well and we welcome that.
For indicator two, which measures the relative likelihood of white applicants being appointed from shortlisting compared to BAME applicants, all English regions have seen a deterioration in outcomes for BAME applicants, with the North West region being the worst performer in England.
The report also finds that the number of BAME staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public in the last 12 months has increased on last year to nearly 30 per cent and is higher than their white counterparts are experiencing.
More positively, there has been an increase in the number of BAME board or voting members across trusts. Despite this, many trusts across the region continue to operate with no BAME representation at very senior levels.
RCN North West Regional Director Estephanie Dunn said: “BAME staff continue to face an uphill struggle for equal access to opportunities for career progression and to be treated fairly in the workplace.
“Race discrimination in the workplace does affect patient care. At a time when the profession is crying out for nursing staff, when we need staff to feel safe whilst working together in the fight against this pandemic, it is an outrage that these figures tell us that systemic bias and discrimination continues to exist in some organisations across the region. Whilst we are only assessing feedback on NHS trusts in this report, I fully expect this pattern of inequality to be present in all parts of the health and care sector.
“I’m pleased there are some improvements on certain indicators in parts of the region. We see small numbers of BAME staff securing more senior and Board positions. However, we still have a very long way to go towards achieving equality of experience and opportunity. We are all responsible for stamping out these corrosive attitudes and behaviours.”