RHO statement in response to the Nursing and Midwifery Council Independent Culture Review

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Independent Culture Review published today highlights unacceptable behaviours, processes and culture within the NMC. These issues, which include racism, discrimination and victimisation are deeply concerning for the very people the NHS relies on: nursing and midwifery professionals, as well as for the public. They impact on health, wellbeing, patient care and career progression, which can have significant impact on livelihoods. Sadly, these issues are disappointingly familiar for those from Black, Asian and other minoritised backgrounds.

Naming racism is the first among the seven NHS Race and Health Observatory Anti-Racism Principles. This principle acknowledges the existence of racism, working to understand how it operates and committing to addressing it. Commissioning an independent review of culture is a commendable first step in this process, and one that other organisations should also undertake. Converting intent to action through implementation of the recommendations outlined in the review will be critical to drive the long-awaited change required in the NMC. Transparent acts of accountability at all levels of NMC leadership are now needed and should serve as an example of the focused action required to address the systemic racism embedded more widely in our health system.


The RHO Anti-racism principles: 

  • Name racism, engaging seriously and continuously with the ways in which racism impacts the lives of the patients and service users who are your focus.
  • Establish a mutually accepted model of racism and health, which all partners will accept and ratify.
  • Involve racially minoritised individuals in every stage of development, including ensuring that the improvement team themselves are racially diverse.
  • Collect and publish data on race inequality in its entirety. Where data is not available, change policies to ensure that data is collected.
  • Identify racist bias in policies, decision making processes, and other areas within your organisation.
  • Apply a race-critical lens to the adoption of interventions to be tested – did underlying research involve community participation? Who were the researchers?
  • Evaluate based on measures that recognise the role of racism as a determinant of health.