Health service commits to more action on representation

A report looking into race equality among England’s doctors has found that the number from black and ethnic minority backgrounds working for the NHS is the highest on record.

The inaugural Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard, commissioned by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, shows that last year more than 53,000 doctors working in the NHS were from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, up by more than 9,000, a rise of around one-fifth, since 2017.

The change confirms the ever-increasing diversity of NHS staff – with 42 per cent of medical staff working in the NHS now from a BME background. However despite this rise in ethnic minority medical staff, BME doctors currently remain underrepresented in senior positions, including at consultant grade roles and in academic positions.

The NHS Long Term Plan has called on every NHS trust to set its own target on senior BME representation by 2022, to reflect their overall workforce.

Stevens said: “The NHS’s medical workforce is one of the most diverse in the country, and increasingly so. So it’s all the more critical that the profession, local employers and the wider NHS nationally all now act on these important and wide ranging findings”.

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHS said: “While it is pleasing that ever increasing numbers of people from a BME background are choosing to become doctors and join our NHS, there is much more the NHS and other health bodies can do to improve representation and experiences for BME people.

“As part of our People Plan we have committed to support NHS organisations to make workplaces even more inclusive and compassionate, while it is also important that our partners in medical schools, Royal Colleges and other organisations take the steps required to improve experience of staff from a BME background.”

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The NHS is made up of more than 8,000 organisations, with many more across the wider health and care sector.

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