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NHS England takes action on race equality

NHS England has announced action to improve race equality across the NHS workforce. The move follows recent reports that have highlighted disparities in the number of BME people in senior leadership positions across the NHS, as well as lower levels of wellbeing amongst the BME population.

From April 2015, NHS organisations across the country will be required to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to ensure that boards are representative of the communities they serve.

Guidance for the new standard has also been published, called the Workforce Race Equality Standard. Alongside the standard, the NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS2) will also become mandatory. This is a toolkit that aims to help organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities and provide better working environments for all groups. The standard and the EDS2 will be included in the 2015/16 Standard NHS contract. NHS regulators – the Care Quality Commission, Trust Development Agency and Monitor – will use both of these to help assess whether NHS organisations are well-led.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, says: “The Five Year Forward View sets out a direction of travel for the NHS – much of which depends on the health service embracing innovation, engaging and respecting staff, and drawing on the immense talent in our workforce.


“We know that care is far more likely to meet the needs of all the patients we’re here to serve when NHS leadership is drawn from diverse communities across the country, and when all our frontline staff are themselves free from discrimination. These new mandatory standards will help NHS organisations to achieve these important goals.”

Roger Kline, Research Fellow at Middlesex University Business School, who led the development of the standard, adds: “The Workforce Race Equality Standard encourages, and where necessary requires, all NHS providers to treat all black and minority ethnic staff fairly and ensure their full talents are used. It is good news for patients and for staff that NHS organisations have adopted this ground-breaking evidence-based approach.”