CSP responds to new workforce report that reveals ‘ongoing discrimination’ in NHS England

A new report shows increasing diversity among the workforce of NHS England, but also highlights that Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff continue to be disproportionately affected by bullying, harassment and a lack of career development.

A piece of paper with the word 'discrimination' written on it, torn in two

The 2022 Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report was released this week. The WRES report, which was first published in 2015, now includes data on intersectional characteristics, including ethnicity, sex, region and occupation. 

It reveals that the overall percentage of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff has risen in NHS England, alongside an increase for Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff sitting on boards and in very senior manager positions.

However, there are still considerable gaps between the workforce as a whole and executive level, and Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff are still significantly more likely to enter a formal disciplinary process when compared to white colleagues.  

The report also found that bullying and harassment from other staff primarily affects Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues.

And, where intersectionality is considered, women from a Black background (19.8 per cent) and women from an Arabic background (18.4 per cent), experienced high levels of discrimination from other colleagues in the last 12 months.  

Report raises concerns for NHS staff

Commenting on the findings in the report, Claire Sullivan, CSP Director of Employment Relations and Union Services, said: ‘While we welcome the increase in diversity across all NHS England regions there is still much work to be done to drive racial discrimination out of the NHS.

As an organisation, the CSP is deeply concerned about ongoing discrimination faced by our members and others from clinical and non-clinical backgrounds

‘This is evidenced in this year’s WRES report through the horrendous levels of bullying, harassment and lack of career development and recruitment, all experienced at higher levels by Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff than their white counterparts.

‘This is a joint endeavour, and we are committed as a union to work with employers, unions and government to deliver a more diverse, inclusive NHS for the future.”

Ongoing discrimination

Overall, the percentage of staff experiencing discrimination from a manager, team leader or other colleague has increased for all staff since 2019, but the gap between the experience of this behaviour by Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (17.0 per cent) compared to their white peers (6.8 percent) remains large at 10.2 per cent.

Other key findings in the report include that:  

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff are still 1.14 times more likely to enter a formal disciplinary process when compared to white staff – this has seen no increase or decrease since 2021.  
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff are 1.54 times less likely to be appointed for short-listing, compared to white staff. This is a slight reduction from 1.61 in 2021.  
  • In the clinical workforce, band 5 has the highest amount of diversity at 36.8 per cent. In the non-clinical workforce, band 6 has the highest level of diversity at 18.8 per cent

Increasing diversity in the workforce

The report shows that, while London has the most diverse workforce (with 49.9 per cent of its staff identifying as Black, Asian or minority ethnic), the percentage of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff across NHS England has increased year-on-year, and is now sitting at 24.2 per cent, an increase from 22.4 per cent in 2021.

This represents a real terms staff increase of 27,500. The region with the least diverse workforce is the south-west, sitting at just 12.8 per cent.  


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