Health secretary urged to address racism in NHS
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Health Secretary Wes Streeting has been urged by human rights charity Brap to address racism in the NHS.

The open letter was co-signed by nurse Michelle Cox, research fellow at Middlesex University Business School Roger Kline, and Joy Warmington MBE who is the CEO of Brap.

The charity referenced their investigation entitled Too Hot to Handle which looked into racial discrimination in the health service. 

They said the analysis of tribunal cases indicates the NHS "actually expends a lot of energy defending and burying allegations of racism as a reactive measure."

They added: "There is still a paralyzing reluctance within organisations to talk about race. Some minimize racism when it occurs, others demand evidence it exists, others still simply ignore the issue, hoping the person experiencing it will stay quiet or move on.

"The importance of tackling racism in healthcare is self-evident. In an NHS workforce where 25 per cent of staff are now of Black or minoritised ethnic (BME) backgrounds and a significant and growing proportion of the population served by healthcare organisations are too, this is not remotely a marginal issue."

In the open letter, the co-authors said there are several things NHS organisations can do to realise the goal of creating an NHS "free from race discrimination."

They said organisations need to become more comfortable with staff speaking out about racism and ensure concerns are acted on without retaliation.

Develop their capacity to talk about race, setting standards of behaviour that challenge ‘everyday’ racism, and getting better at acting on the early warning signs of racism by tackling racism more informally and proactively were also listed.

Addressing Streeting, the authors continued: "We urge you to make explicit recommendations about this issue. It has, for far too long, been the subject of avoidance and denial.

"You have a monumental job ahead of you. But you also have the opportunity to create a more equitable and inclusive NHS. We hope you seize this opportunity."