Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust urged to do more about race discrimination

Figures on race equality in the NHS have been published. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive

Figures on race equality in the NHS have been published. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The NHS has been urged to take race discrimination more seriously as figures suggest ethnic minority staff face increasing prejudice.

King George Hospital, in Goodmayes.

King George Hospital, in Goodmayes. - Credit: Archant

Some 20per cent of black and minority ethnic groups (BAME) complained of unfair treatment at the hands of colleagues at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), according to NHS data.

This is a 4pc increase on the previous year.

BAME staff are more than twice as likely to enter formal disciplinary procedures compared to their white colleagues, the data shows.

RCN London senior officer, Steve Godecharle, said: “While there has been some improvement in the way the trust is treating BAME staff, progress is still too slow with some indicators going in the opposite direction.

“Still, disproportionate numbers of BAME staff are being bullied, harassed and discriminated against and denied opportunities open to white colleagues. There are particular concerns at BHRUT where there has been a worrying increase in BAME staff entering the disciplinary process.”

He added that the imbalance in treatment cannot be allowed to continue before calling on the trust to engage with BAME staff, listen to their concerns and examine practices that discriminate against them in partnership with trade union colleagues.

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A total of 68pc of BHRUT’s BAME workers in 2017 believed the trust provided equal opportunities for promotion compared to 81pc of white staff members.

The percentage of BAME and white staff complaining of bullying or harassment by colleagues was 31pc and 28pc respectively, according to the NHS workforce race equality standard (WRES) report.

Data from 2018 shows the majority of the trust’s nursing staff, 57pc, are BAME.

Chris Bown, interim BHRUT chief executive, said: “We are well aware of these issues and are engaging with colleagues to tackle them. Any form of discrimination is completely unacceptable.”

He added BHRUT’s own ethnic minority network highlighted a need to make its recruitment process more inclusive and it has introduced diversity partners to sit on interview panels.

It also launched a year-long career development programme.

“These are some examples of the important work going on across our hospitals. We know we still have a way to go and will continue to listen to our staff,” Mr Bown said.