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Workforce Race Equality Standard published and London has a lot of work to do

21 Dec 2017

Race equality failings ‘institutional racism by any other name’, say RCN London

NHS England’s 2017 Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) was published in December. The 2017 report is the third publication since the standard was established and covers all nine indicators.  Across the country it was found that nurses and midwives are poorly represented in senior management roles and across higher pay bands.

In London the picture is significantly worse than across the rest of England with London’s NHS employers recording the worst work race equality ratings in 7 out of 9 areas.  Some results have even worsened from the previous report.

Some of the most significant and concerning findings include:

  • 43% of London’s NHS workforce are from BME backgrounds, yet only 9% of BME staff in London hold a senior manager role, which is down from 11% in 2016


  • White colleagues are twice as likely to be appointed from a shortlist as those from BME backgrounds


  • Nurses in London from BME backgrounds are still twice as likely to face disciplinary action than their white colleagues


  • For the second year running, London has the highest percentage of BME nursing staff experiencing harassment, bullying and abuse from both public, patients, managers and colleagues – shockingly 30% of London’s BME staff have experienced such abuse


  • Only 69% of London’s BME staff believe their trust provides equal opportunities for career progression against a national average of 75% 

RCN London Regional Director Bernell Bussue, said:

“It is a disgrace that in 2017 black and minority ethnic staff working in London’s NHS services are continuing to be discriminated against. Despite having the most ethnically diverse workforce in the country, London’s providers are again the worst performing when it comes to race equality.

“Staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are being harassed at work, denied career opportunities, and face disciplinary proceedings for issues that their white colleagues simply do not. This is institutional racism by any other name and staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds deserve better than more empty promises from their employers and NHS leadership.

“Employers are still not making race equality a top organisational priority. If they continue to prove they are unable to deliver positive change for black and minority ethnic staff, then they must be held accountable.”


Page last updated - 15/06/2018