RCN London research into BAME numbers

19 Oct 2018

RCN London have told NHS Trusts in the capital to stop dismissing race inequality as a minority issue after analysis of NHS data revealed that nurses from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds now form the majority of nursing staff in the majority of Trusts in London.

The research shows that in London’s NHS there are now 27,982 nurses from a BAME background with 24,847 nurses identifying as white.


London is the only region in England to have a majority BAME nursing workforce. However, the region is also the worst performing when it comes to race equality in the workplace. In both 2016 and 2017 the national Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) - a national set of metrics which measure race equality in the health service – showed London to be failing across almost all metrics.


RCN are now demanding that London’s NHS publically acknowledge the institutional racism that exists in the health service and to realise that race equality failings are a real issue for the majority of the capital’s nursing workforce.


RCN London has over the last twelve months been confronting inequality in the workplace through its Inclusion Solution programme which brings employers, activists, academics, and nursing staff from across the capital to promote new thinking around inclusion and to share good practice.


RCN London’s analysis also revealed that:

  • Six in ten of London’s Trusts have a majority BAME nursing workforce;
  • Four in ten of London’s Trusts have a black British and Asian British majority nursing workforce;

The findings also pointed to a lack of diversity in some of London’s major hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, which has a 82 per cent majority white nursing workforce (1,233 out of 1,500). The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust recorded a 70 per cent majority white nursing workforce (784 out of 1,111).


RCN released the data on the day it held its Black History Month event at University College London Hospitals in which the region celebrated 25 ‘Rising Stars’ from the BAME nursing community in the capital. ‘Rising Stars’ were nominated by colleagues in their workplaces and range from Ward Managers to Health Care Assistants and Directors of Inclusion.


The all-day event featured workshops on building confidence and was addressed by Rosena Allin-khan, Labour MP for Tooting and Shadow Minister for Sport, as well as Chris Ramsey, Technical Director at Queens Park Rangers Football Club, who spoke about his experience as a black man in football.



RCN London Operational Mark Farmer, said:


‘We have time and time again called on Trusts and the health service in London to properly take notice and address the institutional racism that our members see and experience every day at work. For too long employers and the wider system have tried to sweep it under the carpet and dismiss the issue of racism because they believe it only effects a minority of staff - our analysis now blows that out of the water.


‘The BAME nursing workforce in London are as integral to the NHS as they were when the Windrush came ashore 70 years ago. However, they still face discrimination, bullying and are continually shown a lack of respect and denied the very opportunities available to their white colleagues. NHS leaders, in Black History Month, now have an opportunity to show that they are willing to take responsibility for this rotten culture and embrace inclusion at all levels. Anything less is a dereliction of duty.


‘We are immensely proud of our BAME nursing workforce who day in day out provide world class, person-centred care across the capital in our hospitals and communities. It’s now time that the health service did its bit for them and committed to tackling racism in the workplace.'


Page last updated - 18/01/2019