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CCGs, NHS trusts and national arm’s length bodies have been asked by NHS England and Improvement to close the gap in the rates of disciplinary action faced by black and minority ethnic (BME) and white staff by 2022.
In a letter sent to NHS HR directors working at CCGs and NHS arm’s length bodies (ALBs) on 1 July, the new chief people officer Prerana Issar said that it is ‘not acceptable’ that people coming from certain backgrounds are more likely to enter disciplinary processes.
Ms Issar’s letter introduced a new document, A fair experience for all: Closing the ethnicity gap in rates of disciplinary action across the NHS workforce, which sets out some ‘aspirational goals’ for CCGs, NHS trusts, and the national ALBs to make progress in this area.
The document expects that, by 2022, there will be ‘equality in terms of the likelihood of staff entering the disciplinary process for both white and BME staff’ across at least 90% of all NHS organisations.
NHS organisations are asked to meet two goals:
Over 170 NHS trusts failed to meet the recommended ‘non-adverse range’ in 2018, the document said.
However, the relative likelihood for BME staff entering the formal disciplinary process compared to white staff across all NHS trusts was 1.24 in 2018, an improvement on the 2016 figure of 1.56.
NHS England and NHS Improvement hope that by 2020, 51% of NHS organisations will meet the non-adverse range of 0.8 and 1.25, with the percentage expected to grow to 76% in 2021 and to 90% in 2022.
Real opportunity to make a difference
In her foreword to the document, Ms Issar said: ‘This helpful document presents us with the opportunity to make a real difference in this area.
‘It presents stretching but achievable goals in this area for NHS organisations, and highlights good practice and recommendations to bring about improvements to the culture of the health service – supporting organisations to shift from, the often toxic environment of blame to one of support and learning.’
The Workforce Race Equality Standard implementation team will support NHS organisations to achieves the ‘aspirational goals’, Ms Issar said.
Integrated Care Systems and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships have been asked to make the NHS the best place to work. As part of the long-term plan implementation framework, published last week, they have been asked to introduce new targets for BME representation across their system by 2021/22.
A report published in May showed that seven national healthcare organisations need to make improvement on race equality, as they have a BME board representation that does not reflect the percentage of ethnic minority staff in their organisation.