Barts Health NHS Trust urged to do more to tackle race discrimination

Figures on race equality in the NHS have been published. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive

Figures on race equality in the NHS have been published. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

An NHS hospital trust has been urged to take race discrimination more seriously as figures suggest ethnic minority staff face inceasing prejudice.

White job applicants are twice as likely to be appointed after getting shortlisted than black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) jobseekers at Barts Health NHS Trust, according to NHS data.

The Royal College of Nursing’s London senior officer Steve Godecharle said: “While there has been some marginal improvements in the way the trust is treating BAME staff, progress is still too slow with some indicators going in the opposite direction.

“Still, disproportionate numbers of BAME staff are being bullied, harassed and discriminated against and denied the opportunities open to their white colleagues.

“This imbalance in treatment cannot be allowed to continue. The trust must now meaningfully engage with their black and minority ethnic staff, listen to their concerns and examine the practices that discriminate against them in partnership with trade union colleagues,” he added.

Some 20 per cent of BAME staff complained of unfair treatment at the hands of colleagues at Barts.

The percentage of BAME and white staff complaining of bullying or harassment by colleagues was 34pc and 30pc respectively.

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The figures for Barts also show that white staff had a 0.4pc chance of entering formal disciplinary procedures while BAME staff had 0.8pc.

In 2017 the numbers were 0.9pc and 1.6pc respectively.

The trust also saw a dip in BME representation at senior levels dropping from 22pc on its board in 2017 to 18pc this year, according to the data.

A Barts spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely determined to eliminate discrimination against BME staff.

“Our positive action charter sets out what we are doing to achieve this. It includes investing in our career development programme which has seen a quarter of its 350 members promoted or moved up a pay band, and training inclusion ambassadors to sit on senior recruitment panels.

“We will not tolerate bullying and abuse, so we also have BME staff training - supported by NHS England - to explore the issues behind the data to help us better understand the experiences of our people to inform further improvements.”