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Black NHS workers more likely to be bullied

An NHS report has found bullying from the public and other staff is higher for BME workers

Black NHS staff are more likely to be bullied than their white colleagues, according to a report released today by NHS England.

The NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard looked at four indicators across acute trusts, ambulance trusts, community provider trusts, and mental health and learning disability trusts.

Three-quarters (75%) of all acute trusts had a higher percentage of BME staff that were harassed, bullied or abused by colleagues in comparison to white staff. Less than a quarter (22%) of acute trusts reported a lower percentage of BME staff being harassed, bullied or abused by their colleagues than white staff. Only five organisations reported the same response rate, indicating no gap between BME employees' and white employees' experience.

Abuse from the public was also higher for BME staff. In 65% of the 20 community provider trusts a larger proportion of BME staff experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from the public in the last 12 months. In one trust 43.5% of BME staff and 24.1% of white staff reported experience of harassment bullying or abuse from patients, their relatives or the public (a gap of 19.4 percentage points).

In 86% of acute trusts a higher percentage of BME staff did not believe that their organisation offers equal opportunities for career progression or promotion. Most acute trusts (81%) report a higher proportion of BME staff having personally experienced discrimination from a manager, team leader or colleague than white staff.

Yvonne Coghill, NHS England’s director of workforce race equality standard implementation, said that this seminal report illustrates the difference in experiences between BME and white staff in the NHS. “We hope the content of the report will encourage organisations to acknowledge and accept the experiences of their BME staff and to work towards making our NHS a fairer, more equitable organisation for all,” she said.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said in the report: "We must not be defensive or complacent, but must change our cultures, biases, attitudes and behaviours as well as improve our processes and policies."