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CSP backs new race equality standard for NHS staff in England

21 April 2015 - 11:15am

The CSP is calling on the health sector in England to act on a new race equality standard for NHS staff, which came into force on 1 April.

CSP backs new race equality standard for NHS staff in England

Mel Stewart got delegates to their feet: ‘As a physio I’d like to encourage you to get up and move as you’ve all been sitting here for a while’

The Workforce Race Equality Standard aims to ensure that employees from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

Physiotherapist Mel Stewart raised a CSP motion about the standard at the TUC Black Workers Conference, held in London on 17-19 April.

She explained that recent research showing that the treatment and experience of BME staff in the NHS is significantly worse, on average, than that of their white counterparts.

Delegates heard that the new standard requires organisations employing NHS staff to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality. These include promotion, training, grading, discipline and bullying.

‘Despite the fact that trusts already collect most of the data that will be required, it is currently rarely published, and almost never acted on,’ Ms Stewart said. ‘There is no point in collecting data for its own sake – it needs to be acted on,’ she told delegates.

‘We need to make sure that NHS organisations talk to their BME staff, and to the trade unions. The standard will not succeed unless employers work in partnership with trade unions and draw on their knowledge and expertise.’

Ms Stewart called on unions to equip reps to engage fully in the process of discussion, analysis, target setting and progress reviews.

Zero hours contracts

Physiotherapy support worker Angela Aboagye contributed to a motion on zero hours contracts. She said that bank contracts are increasingly being offered as a way of starting employment in physiotherapy.

‘It is NHS staff who are being asked to deliver the changes and improvements being demanded. They deserve better than to be treated like cut-price, second-class labour,’ she told delegates.

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