The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


View your shopping cart.

ARC 2014: Race discrimination still rife in NHS, delegates told

7 March 2014 - 11:16am

People with black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds continue to receive a raw deal from the NHS, a representative from the CSP’s BME network told the annual representative conference.


ARC delegate Charmaine Riley. Photo: Simon Ridgway

Charmaine Riley said a 2013 study had shown that white applicants were three times more likely than their BME counterparts to be appointed to NHS jobs. White people who were shortlisted were twice as likely to get the job than those with a BME background, she noted.

Ms Riley’s call for the CSP to look at how physio staff fared in the NHS, broken down by grade and ethnicity, was backed by delegates. She also said the society should ensure that stewards were fully equipped to negotiate with employers on matters relating to ethnicity and other protected characteristics.

Speaking as a ‘successful band 7 practitioner’, Ms Riley said she disproved the notion that BME staff ‘don’t make the grade’. Despite a call in the NHS Constitution for staff to be treated ‘fairly, equally and free from discrimination’, a 2012 staff survey showed that eight per cent of employees still reported experiencing racial discrimination from colleagues, she noted.

Positive role models

Negative stereotypes abounded, often based on flimsy evidence, said Ms Riley. A colleague had told her a few years ago that she had confounded his expectations that she would be ‘aggressive, loud and with an attitude’. ‘I do wonder where he got that opinion from,’ she noted.

Ms Riley pointed out that too few BME youngsters thought about entering the physiotherapy field, perhaps because there were few role models. But since qualifying 10 years ago, she had acted as an ‘ambassador’ for the profession, successfully inspiring five people to study physiotherapy at university.

Liz Gray, from the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists network, said she had suffered discrimination when, as an English woman, she had first applied to work in Scotland. Undeterred, she had eventually been successful in gaining a post there. Telling delegates to ‘look beyond culture’, Ms Gray said she had recently appointed a Latvian physio to a post who had proved to be a ‘huge asset’. ‘Some of my colleagues came up to me and said “you saw a gem there” – of course I did, I saw a physiotherapist.’

Referring to motto on the CSP’s ‘bonny badge’, she urged delegates to back the motion and ‘pursue worthy aims’.

Comments are visible to CSP members only.

Please Login to read comments and to add your own or register if you have not yet done so.

More from the CSP

Back to top