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Pledge to eliminate ethnicity pay gap

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BAME staff members rarely reach the top BAME staff members rarely reach the top of the NHS

The Department of Health and Social Care has committed to eliminating the disparity in pay between ethnicities by 2028.

A recent analysis showed that ethnicity pay gaps exist in the NHS. The data shows that senior white NHS managers are paid significantly more than managers from ethnic minority backgrounds, while fewer BAME staff reach the most senior levels. Diversity across the NHS is above the national average, with BAME staff making up 17% of the non-medical NHS workforce. However, only 11% of senior managers are BAME. This drops to 6.4% at the most senior level.

‘The NHS is a leading light of talent for people from all communities and backgrounds, with diversity levels far in excess of the national average. However, it is unacceptable that this is still not reflected at the very top of the organisation – this kind of inequality has no place in a modern employer and I’m determined to tackle it,’ said Health Minister Stephen Barclay. ‘That’s why I have set an ambitious goal for the NHS to ensure its leadership is as diverse as the rest of the workforce within the next ten years, supporting a culture that allows diversity to thrive at all levels.’

In addition, a number of the Department of Health and Social Care’s bodies, including NHS England, Public Health England and Health Education England, have signed up to the new Race at Work Charter. This will reward organisations who do the following:

  • Appoint an executive sponsor for race
  • Capture data and publicise progress
  • Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression


‘Having an NHS workforce that is representative of the population improves patients’ care, safety and overall satisfaction with the health service,’ said Yvonne Coghill, Director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard for NHS England. ‘The annual Workforce Race Equality Standard is an honest and open analysis which shines a light on where we need to perform better for our staff. Although I’m confident that the NHS in England is moving in the right direction – as shown by the recent increase in senior managers from BAME backgrounds and more NHS trusts having board-level BAME representation – it’s equally clear that we have some way still to go.’

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