first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Shocking figures show that ethnic minority staff face harassment frompatients and colleagues every day.  BenWillmott asks what one of the UK’s largest employers is doing to tackle theproblemThe HR profession still has a long way to go in tackling racism in the NHS,according to two major studies. A confidential government report has revealed that at least half offrontline staff from ethnic minorities were victims of racial harassment lastyear. A third were harassed by their healthcare colleagues and a quarter by NHSmanagers. The report, which was leaked to The Guardian newspaper last week, followsclosely on the heels of a study by independent health charity King’s Fund,which claimed that black and Asian doctors face racism every day. Despite the advent of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act this year, it foundthat ethnic minority doctors are less likely to be promoted to the best jobs. “I find the results surprising and shocking. I think we need toacknowledge that there is a lot of work being done on diversity by trusts, butobviously there is a lot more still to do,” said John Adsett, secretary ofthe Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management. Adsett is particularly concerned about the Department of Health report’sfinding that complaints were sometimes not followed up by managers. It commissioned consultancy Lemos & Crane to carry out the study, whichwas based on the responses from focus groups in 52 NHS trusts in London,Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the Black Country, south-west Yorkshire andBirmingham/Solihull. The results show that 46.2 per cent of staff from ethnic minoritiesexperienced racial harassment and 37.9 per cent witnessed incidents. Staff in the front line, such as doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists andsupport workers, are the most likely to suffer racial abuse. The report says, “It would be safe to conclude that racial harassmentis still a pervasive phenomenon in the NHS, largely unrecorded, with littleaction taken to resolve the problem or give address to those affected.” Mike Griffin, HR director for King’s College Hospital NHS Trust in London,believes a zero-tolerance approach needs to be enforced in order to tackle. He believes most of the racism towards ethnic staff comes from patientsrather than colleagues. “A proportion of ethnic staff do experience harassment, which theywould experience as racial harassment, but not to the extent outlined in thereport,” he said. Griffin is waiting for the results of a staff survey carried out at King’sCollege Hospital, which includes a question asking employees if they haveexperienced harassment from colleagues. “Our objective is to ensure that staff feel they are supported wherethey encounter harassment of whatever kind and feel that the trust is there toassist and support them,” he said. The Commission for Racial Equality’s spokesman Chris Myant believes thereport highlights serious shortcomings in the way the NHS deals with raceequality issues. He is optimistic that the Race Relations (Amendment) Act will make the NHSget its house in order. The Act came into force in April and means that allpublic organisations will have to eliminate institutional racism and promoteequal opportunities and good race relations. “We deal with quite a significant number of cases in respect of theNHS. It has been a worry to us for many years that the premier caring servicein the UK and one of the largest employers has continued to fail to deal withrace equality practice in its employment arrangements,” said Myant. “This is further evidence of the need for a Race Relations (Amendment)Act and the procedures it will bring in across the health service as in otherparts of the public sector. “This is post-MacPherson Britain, the carpet is being pulled back andwe are beginning to see what is going on.” Legal experts believe that NHS trusts will have to promote good racerelations under the Act. Makbool Javaid, a partner at law firm DLA, said, “Trusts will findthemselves vulnerable to actions under the Act, both by individuals and theCRE, which also has enforcement powers.” South Birmingham Mental Health NHS Trust has reacted to the new legislationby appointing a manager to promote racial equality and tackle racial harassmentin the workplace. Mohammed Arif, who took up the post in April, said racism in the workplaceis still a major concern. “We will do everything in our power to ensure wereview our policies and practices to ensure that as an organisation we are notinstitutionally racist,” he said. Health minister John Hutton claimed the Government is committed to stampingout racism in the NHS. He said, “We cannot get the best from NHS staff ifthose who are from an ethnic minority suffer racism. Racism has absolutely noplace in the NHS. That means the culture of the NHS must change and every NHSemployer must play their part. “This is why we are moving on to a new phase of the programme, whichwill make leaders in the NHS accountable for building a service which is freefrom harassment and discrimination. “We recognise, however, that this will not happen overnight. Many ofour staff will need new knowledge and skills if race equality is to be trulymainstreamed into our work. We are determined to make that change happen.” Comments are closed. NHS racism alive and well – so when will it be cured?On 3 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img


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