Statement in response to the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report, 2022.

Responding to the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report, published on 22 February 2023, Dr Habib Naqvi, Chief Executive of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:

“The latest Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) data report reiterates the fact that whilst the NHS is diverse, it’s not always inclusive. We welcome the increase in the overall number of Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff joining the NHS workforce, including the slight rise at board level, but there still remains unacceptable levels of discrimination, bullying, harassment and barriers to progression for significant proportions of our diverse staff.

“We know organisational diversity is not a precursor to progressive, compassionate, and inclusive workplace cultures. But this can be achieved if the right conditions are established within organisations over time. For that to happen, organisations must take a strategic, long-term approach to create a culture of equity and inclusion. This agenda should be focused upon with the same thoroughness as any other organisational strategic priority.

“This is a critical challenge for all leaders across the NHS. Simple pledges and commitments are not good enough; we need concerted focus on practical action to eradicate the root causes that lead to differential experiences and opportunities for Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff in the NHS. Ensuring a more inclusive working environment for all staff is not only key to recruitment and retention, but it also benefits patient care and outcomes.

“As the biggest employer of Black and ethnic minority people in England, there is simply no room for racism in the NHS.”

The NHS Race and Health Observatory collaborated with the Commonwealth Fund to produce an opinion piece on workforce and workplace racism in health systems, published in The Lancet on 10 December 2022.