Statement in response to publication of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) 2023 data analysis

Responding to publication of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) data analysis for 2023, Dr Nandi Simpson, director, implementation, NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:

“The NHS workforce is more diverse today than at any stage in history. This is a point for celebration, and it’s a reminder to ensure that the 26% of the workforce receive good experiences and equal opportunities. However, as the latest WRES data show, this is not always the case and further concerted work needs to happen on this agenda.

“Firstly, we must acknowledge that the proportion of Black and minority ethnic staff in senior positions is significantly lower than that in the workforce as a whole; this speaks to challenges both in terms of career progression and diverse recruitment. We need to ensure that representation at senior and Board levels is keeping pace with the overall increase in the diversity of the workforce.

“Secondly, we know that diversity does not always mean inclusion – data consistently show that experience of staff from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds working in the NHS remains very poor, and that these groups continue to experience bullying, harassment, and discrimination at a higher rate than White colleagues. This is of serious concern to the Observatory. 

“Focussing on the above will support the NHS’ ambitions to recruit, develop and retain staff. We also know that an engaged and fully supported workforce leads to compassionate workplaces, organisational efficiencies and, critically, better outcomes for all patients.”