The UK’s largest trade union has launched a new training resource for the NHS in a bid to tackle workplace discrimination that prevents black and ethnic minority staff from rising up the career ladder.
The Race Ahead in Health toolkit, drawn up by Unite, found that Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAEM) health workers are still being overlooked for promotions and are likely to experience racial harassment, bullying and discrimination in the job market.
Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite national officer for health, said: “We are launching the toolkit and training to assist NHS staff and managers to ensure that this issue is always on the agenda and allows no room for complacency.”
The toolkit offers all staff free training in equality and diversity to tackle conscious and unconscious bias. It also encourages union reps to review their organisations’ recruitment processes, policies for bullying and harassment, pay policies and opportunities for career progression and development.
The new guidance comes as a response to the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard survey, published by NHS England in 2015, which revealed that 75 per cent of all acute trusts showed a higher percentage of BME staff being harassed, bullied or abused by staff in comparison to white staff.
The survey also showed that at 86 per cent of acute trusts, a higher percentage of BME staff did not believe that their organisation offered equal opportunities for career progression or promotion in comparison with white staff.
Sarah Carpenter, Unite national officer for health, said: “Academic studies have proved that when staff feel they are being discriminated against and bullied, they provide worse patient care. So this initiative to end discrimination and eliminate unfair treatment of BAEM NHS staff will lead to improved levels of patient care, so we can all benefit.”